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1765 - 1929 

Bien-ttre et Liberie 





y* BY 

B. K. THAKORE,b.a„lb,8„ 

"'Professor of History and Political Economy, Deccan 
College, Poona, Manokji Limji Medallist (Bom. 
University), Author of An Accunt of First 
Afadhavrao Peshwa, The Text of the 
Sakuntald, atrfvriTT^ ^F^cT^r ^ZW-t 

vti^Fctt, »ronPTT, <*s£rfat sfta 1 *"- 

1*6 0*17 


'5 S?S 





(Opposite the British Museum). 




With the introduction of responsible government the creation of a 
living school of constitutional history and political philosophy trying to 
understand and appraise laws and institutions events and movements 
historically, by going backward to their causes and forward to their 
actual effects, becomes one of the prime though minor necessaries of our 
intellectual and corporate life. This little book is a very humble contri- 
bution to that end. Though attempting no more than a sketch, I have 
tried to develop the subject-matter historically, to present each great 
change along with the principal influences by which it was moulded, and 
to indicate to some extent how far it actually came up to the aims its 
authors had in view. I have worked back to the original authorities as 
far as a student with limited resources can do so, in a country where 
the public libraries are so few and so miserably poor. And while giving 
full references, I have always named by preference such books as are 
likely to be accessible to Indian readers. Controversial matter has not 
been sought after. It has not been avoided either. Constitutional 
administrative and financial history is 'past politics,' even past party 
politics, to a greater extent than any other variety of history, and to 
confine ones self to a mere recital of the facts is, with such a subject- 
matter, altogether impossible. For it is by no means uncommon to find 
that one party s 'facts* are just what their opponents reject with the 
greatest vehemence. What claims, moreover, to be a mere recital of 
facts, can never amount to anything more scientific and impartial than 
a selection of some of the facts ; so that every recital of facts, however 
colourless, is necessarily also an expression of opinion and an indication 
of the author's stand-point, even when he does not himself regard or 
intend it as such. In the following pages, I hope there is not a siDgle 
place where the reader can charge me with avoiding the responsibility 
of expressing my own opinion, or indicating my own stand-point. But 
wherever I have had to deal with 'politics,' I have also tried to give 
both sides, laid stress on the grounds for a conclusion rather than on the 
conclusion itself, and sought, above all, to reduce the area of controversy 
and to let the logic of facts, the trend of the historical development, 
speak for itself. What these pages venture to offer is an independent 
account, en a method and a scale which have not been easy to deter- 
mine or to adhere to, of a historical subject many-sided in its complexity 


and necessarily demanding a rare ripeness and impartiality of judgment 
for which mere silence can never be a substitute. If competent judges 
find my attempt not altogether unsuccessful, the result must be attri- 
buted, it seems to me, to ray classwork with my students of the Deccan 
College, where I have had to deal with most of these topics, though only 
in outline, and continuously for a period now amounting to over seven 
years, M, Chailley spent over his well-known work on the Administra- 
tive Problems of our country 'twenty years of thought and ten of actual 
labour'; I am unable to put forth so high a claim. But College professors 
know the value for their own study and intellectual operations,^ a fresh 
batch of keen young minds year after year, bringing up a strange mess 
of ignorance, confusion, enthusiasm, vague ideas and ideals, 'half-truths 
which are really whole errors,' and political discontent of all shades, 
picked up from partisan writings, out of which they have to mould 
patiently, sympathetically and by persuasive argument, the beginnings 
of scientific habits of thought, some regard for the relevant evidence, 
some sense of duty to see the other side of the shield as it is. an appre- 
ciation however rudimentary of the historical method, a realisation 
however evanescent of the complexities of social, economic and political 
phenomena, and a consciousness however dim that no educated man 
can really claim to judge for himself, except on matters wita regard to 
which his own equipment insight and outlook are fairly adequate. 

Several friends have kindly glanced through these pages as they 
were passing through the press, and enabled me to correct a few errors 
of fact or of opinion, inexact or carelessly worded statements, infelicities 
of expression, and other faults. But there are bound to be many more 
in a book like this. May I request my readers noticing any such to let 
me know about them ? All such suggestions and criticisms will be fully 
weighed, and I shall be very happy indeed to make such changes as 
would clearly be improvements at the earliest opportunity. 

An index and an alphabetical list of the full titles of the books, 
reports, etc., cited in these pages, have had to be omitted from the pre- 
sent edition at the last moment to make room for the Corrections and 
Additions at the end. 

29th December 1921: B K T 

Narayan Peth, Poona City, P« ft* I, 










E. I. Company— The First Century. 

1 Foundation. 2 In Western India. 3 Bay of Bengal. 
4 In England. 5 To 1707. 

E. I, Company— The Second Century. 

6 Farrukh-siyar's Firman. 7 New Era. 8 The 

Diwani. 9 Regulating Act. 10 Pitt's India Act. 11 

To End of Century. 

E. I. Company to the Transfer to the Crown. 

12 Charter Act, 1813. 13 Charter Act, 1833. 14 To 

the Mutiny. 15 End of the Company. 

The Supreme Government. 

16 Meaning of a Constitution. 17 Supremacy of Parlia- 
ment. 18 Secretary of State and Governor-General. 
19 Executive Council. 20 India Council. 

Provincial Administrations. 

21 Centralisation and Deconcentration. 22 Fifteen 
Provinces. 23 Area and Population. 24 Governors, 
Lieut. — Govs, C. — Cs. 25 Districts and Divisions: 
Administrative Departments. 26 The Services. 27 
From generation to generation, 

Legislative Councils. 

28 Indian Councils Act, L861. 29 Indian Councils 
1892. 30 Indian Councils Act, 1909. 

Administration of Justice. 

31 Under the Company. 32 Indian High Courts Act, 

1861. 33 Lower Courts. 34 Separation ot Functions. 

35 Privileged position of British subjects. 

Land Revenue. 

36 Village India. 37 Pre-British Land Revenue. 38 
Permanent Settlement. 39 Tenant Right. 40 Tem- 
porary Settlements. 41 Village Settlements. 42 Ryat- 
wari Settlements. 42 A Uneconomic Holdings, 











IX Famines: Railways: Irrigation. 

43 Extent, frequency, intensity, duration. 44 Famine 
Relief. 45 Famine Prevention. 46 Railways. 47 Irri- 

X Finance. 

48 State needs. 49 Expenditure. 50 Expenditure: 
Ordinary civil. 51 Sources of Income: Taxation of in- 
comes and property. 52 CommodKy taxes. 53 State 
profit from services. 

XI Financial Deconcentration: Local Self-Government. 

54 Mayo to Hardinge. 55 Presidency Town Corpora- 
tions. 56 Town municipalities. 57 Rural Boards and 
Village Panchayats. 

XII The Awakening. 

58 Modern Education : The Beginnings. 59 Modern 
Education, 1854-1920. 60 Nationalists, Irreconcilables, 
Anarchists. 61 Demands for Reform: administrative 
to radical. 62 The Great War. 

XIII The Dawn. 

63 The Changes, 64 Key to Real Swarajya 
Corrections and Additions. 









§ 1 . Foundation. — On the 31 st December 1 600 Queen Eli- 
zabeth granted a charter to the Earl of Cumberland and over 
two hundred London merchants — ' our well-beloved sub- 
jects, Sir John Hart, of London, and others' — to trade by sea 
with all countries from the Cape of Good Hope to the 
straits of Magellan for fifteen years. The grant was for 
'the honour of the nation, the wealth of the people, the 
increase of navigation, and the advancement of lawful 
traffic to the benefit of the commonwealth. ' The Earl 
and his associates were incorporated in the name of the 
'Governor and Company of merchants of London, trading 
into the East Indies. ' They were to hold a Court or 
general assembly, which was empowered to make such 
laws and regulations for the better advancement of their 
affairs and for the discipline and government of their 
own factors, masters, mariners, and other officers, 
apprentices and servants, as were reasonable and not 
contrary to English law and custom. The power of 
inflicting punishment by fine or imprisonment was specially 
included. The ' general court' ] was to elect a Governor, 

1 The ' general court ' is, in modern language, the ordinary 
annual meeting of the shareholders of the company; which the Charter 
required to be held on the first of July or -within six days after that date. 
The board of ' committees ' corresponds to what we now call a board of 
directors. The first Governor and directors are named in the Charter. 
•Committees, ' says Mill, ' meant persons to whom something is commit* 
ed or entrusted. 1 — -History Bk. IV, ch. I. 


a Deputy Governor, and twentyfour i committees ' , to 
form their standing executive, and this body was to wield 
the whole power of the Company. English subjects who 
did not join the Company and yet tried to trade by sea in 
these regions, were declared to be guilty of contempt of the 
crown, and were to be punished by confiscation of all 
their goods, ships &c, half the value of which was to go to 
the Company, and further by such imprisonment and other 
punishment as the Queen and her sucessors might con- 
sider to be necessary. If any places in these regions of 
Asia, Africa and America were in the 'lawful and actual' 2 
possession of a Christian prince or State in 'league and 
amity' with England, the Company was not to trade with 
it unless' allowed by that power to do so. The Charter 
also granted the necessary concessions and facilities about 
ships, munitions and mariners, customs duties, re-export 
of goods brought into England, and the export of coin and 
bullion. And it was finally provided that the Charter 
would be cancelled if not found profitable to the country 
on a notice to the Company of two years to wind up their 
affairs, but that, on the other hand, if the adventure 
answered expectations, it might be renewed on a petition 
from the Company, for another period of fifteen years, 
with such alterations and qualifications in its terms as 
experience might suggest to be required. 

Mukharjl, i pp. 1-20,— the text of the Charter. 
Hunter, i oh. 6, indispensable for a full understanding. 
Ilbert, pp. 3-13. 

§ 2. In Western India. — The East India Company 
began as a Regulated Company. For the first eleven years 

2 These adjectives mean 'effective occupation'. Hunter i pp. 220, 
246-47, &c. Also Roberts p. 23. The Elizabethan petitioners themselves 
asked only for leave to trade in the East '^vhere Spaniards and Portu- 
guese have not any castle, fort, blockhouse, or commandant.' They thus 
ignored the rights founded merely upon a Papal Bull, but recognised 
effective occupation. See also Cambridge Modern History IV ch. 25, 
p. 732. 


the members clubbed together at will for a voyage, each 
voyage being treated as an independent venture. This is 
known as the period of ' separate ' voyages. Some conti- 
nuity of policy and unity of direction were soon discovered 
to be indispensable, and from 1611 all the members con- 
tributed to the joint stock or treasury of the Company, 
out of which voyages and other undertakings came to be 
provided. But in this new system, each joint stock was 
still for several years only. Each was treated ns a sepa- 
rate account, and its profits were divided when the ships of 
the last voyage furnished out of it had returned and the 
goods they brought in had all been disposed of. And 
' separate' voyages were also undertaken during this period 
at various times. 1 It is only after Cromwell's Charter of 1657 
that these confusing practices finally disappeared, and the 
Company became a Joint Stock Corporation in the modern 
sense of the term. 

Factories, docks and landing-places, and other pro- 
perty began to accumulate in India almost from the be- 
ginning. The Company first obtained what land it needed 
for such purposes by lease from the petty local authorities. 
They also approached the Grand Mogul by embassies from 
the King of England. John Mildenhall, the first of the 
English ambassadors to the paramount power in the India 
of the seventeenth century, started from England in 1599 
and travelling overland from the Levant reached Agra in 
1603, and remained there till late in 1605. He claimed to 
have been successful in obtaining from Akbar a firman 
granting to the English trade facilities on terms similar to 
those which the Sultan of Turkey had granted. 2 The 

1 Hunter, ii pp. 177-9, footnote 2, gives a summary survey of the Com- 
pany's voyages and joint stocks from 1600 to 1660. 

2 Vincent Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul ( 1917 ): pp. 292-5. For the 
distinction between parwana, nishan, firman, sanad, and treaty, see 
Hunter ii p. 51, text a id footnote. 


ambassadors who followed him, 3 however, did not know 
anything about this firman. In the meanwhile events 
happened which predisposed the Mogul rulers in favour of 
the newcomers. The great Mogul Empire even at its zenith 
was very weak at sea, and it was a matter of high policy 
with its rulers to have skilled mariners and naval fighters 
belonging to some other nation, if possible, to play off 
against the Portuguese. In November and December 1612 
the Company's ships under Captain Best defeated a 
superior Portuguese squadron off Swally Roads at the 
mouth of the Tapti. Thereupon the Governor of Surat 
readily granted the Company permission to have factories 
at Surat and three other places on the Gulf of Cambay, a 
permission ratified by the Governor of the province of 
Gujrat. The Portuguese tried to regain the ground thus 
lost and put forth the whole of their strength in the Arabi- 
an Sea against the Company in 1615. But the narrow and 
tortuous channels between the shoals and silt-banks at the 
mouth of the river handicapped their galleons, their far 
greater gun-power and man-power could not be brought to 
bear, and Downton, against heavy odds, won victories no 
less impressive than those of 1612. 4 Sir Thomas Roe, the 
sixth ambassador, reached Jahangir's court at Ajmer at the 
end of 1615, and his courtly ways secured a favourable con- 
sideration for the Company's petitions and grievances for 
some years thereafter. 5 Moreover, the Portuguese power 

3 Hawkins, at Agra, 1607-11; Canning, 1613; Kerridge. 1613-4 
Edwards, 1615. Strictly speaking, 'ambassador' is too high a title for 
these four; more than one of them, moreover, made himself, and his 
nation, ridiculous at the Mogul court. 

4 For a graphic account of Best's and Downton's actions see Principal 
Rawlinson's recently published British Beginnings, ch 4. 

5 Roe's great service to the Company lay in the sound advice he gave 
which the Company adhered to as the cardinal principle of their policy 
for many years. "The Portugal " he said, "never profited by the 
Indies, since he defended them. Observe this weU. It has been also 
the error of the Dutch, who seek plantation hereby the sword. Tbey 
turn a wonderful stock, they prowl in all places, they possess some of 
the best. Yet their dead payes consume all their gain. Let this be 
received as- a rule that if you will profit Seek it at Sea* And in quiet 
Trade ; for without controversy, it is an error to affect garrisons and land 
wars in India. " Hunter II 242 ; Rawlinson cb. 5. 


and influence in the Arabian Sea declined very rapidly 
after 1615, and the East India Company was very conven- 
ient to the Grand Mogul as his sea police suppressing 
piracy and keeping the route to Mecca open. Surat rose 
rapidly as the emporium of world-trade with Northern 
India, and the Company's factory there prospered and soon 
became their principal factory in India. The coasting trade 
from the Indus to Goa also came more and more into their 
hands. And in 1635, five years after the treaty of Madrid 
nominally establishing peace between England and Portu- 
gal throughout the world, the President of the factory at 
Surat made an arangement with the Portuguese Viceroy at 
Goa, which secured to the Company four shiploads per 
annum of the richer spices from Goa and other Portuguese 
ports more to the south. 

Hunter i chs. 7, 8; ii ch. 2. 

§ 3. Bay of Bengal. On the eastern coast of India 
the Company succeeded, after two ineffectual attempts 
elsewhere , in establishing a factory in 1611 at Masuli- 
patan, then the chief port of the kingdom of Golconda. 
Eventually, the Sultan gave them a swatna-patta firman: 
" Under the shadow of Me, the King, they shall sit down 
at rest and in safety'' ( 1632 ). But he had little effective 
power to enforce his authority at the extremities of his 
dominions. And he, too, like the Mogul rulers, would not 
allow a fort to be erected. Francis Day went south, there- 
fore, and about thirty miles beyond the Dutch stronghold 
of Pulikat, obtained (1639) a piece of land with the 
right to build a fort from the Raja of Chandragiri, Sri 
Ranga Rayal, a petty chieftain claiming descent from 
the great Vijayanagar dynasty. The Raja's motives for 
the grant are highly instructive to the student of history. 
First, merchants and trade, he believes, will bring wealth 
to his country. " Secondly , he desires ( for his money ) 
good horses from Persia. Thirdly, that yearly he may 
send a servant into the Bay Bengalla to buy him hawks, 


apes, parrots, and similar baubles ... And, lastly, the fort, 
being made substantial and strong, may be able to defend 
his person on occasion against his insulting neighbours." 1 
Day christened his fort after the patron saint of England, 
and Fort St. George became the principal factory on this 
coast from' 1642. The Company raised it to the position 
of an independent presidency in 1653, and placed the 
Bengal and Coromandal coast settlements under it from 

Meanwhile, one of the Company's vessels had entered 
Harishpur at the southern mouth of the Mahanadi and ob- 
tained permission from the Governor of Orissa to trade, 
erect factories and build ships throughout the province 
(1633). A similar license was obtained from the Governor of 
Bengal seventeen years later. Here Hugli, the imperial 
port, became the principal factory, but subordinate in its 
turn to Madras. The advance in the Company's trade and 
position in this part of India was much slower. They be- 
gan fairly well while Prince Shuja was governor, with 
whom Boughton, the surgeon, had some influence. 2 But 
Boughton died, their own factors at such distance from 
all supervision and control went to the bad, and Shuja him- 
self was routed by Aurangzeb and driven out of the 
province (1<560). Shaista Khan, the new viceroy, con- 
firmed their earlier grants only in name; there was little 
chance for profitable trade under his viceroyalty. The 
Company obtained a firman from the Emperor in 1680, but 
it made little change in Shaista Khan's dealings with them. 
Only two alternatives remained : either to abandon 

1 Foster, English Factories 1637-41, p. 184. 

2 See for Boughton W. Foster Factories the vols, for 1642-45; 1646- 
50; 1651-54; also his articles in Ind. Antiquary, September 1911 and May 
1912. For Shaista Khan's dealings, see Firminger, Introduction 
ch. 3. in Fifth Report. Hugli was assigned to him as his jagir 
and he invested the annual proceeds with the traders of the place at 
high interest. Naturally, these traders would be supported by him in try- 
ing to engross the entire trade of the place. Hence ths Co.'s complaints 
about exactions and high-handed dealings are only one side of the shield. 


Bengal altogether, or to see if they could not win better 
treatment by force of arms. After repeated supplications 
which the Viceroy ignored, the Company increased the 
garrison at Hugli (1686). But the Mogul commandant 
of the place immediately surrounded the English factory 
and established a strict blockade. A little hesitation and 
delay, and the tragedy of 1756 might have beeu enacted 
seventy years earlier. Job Charnock, however, abandoned 
the factory in time and sailed away, taking with him all 
he could in his crowded boats. Twentyseven miles lower 
down, the river deepens and broadens out into a splendid 
anchorage, the western bank is low, and the eastern is so 
protected all round by fens and swamps, and the older 
channel of the Adiganga, that a naval power holding the 
anchorage and the approach to it from the sea, could pro- 
tect that bank against all enemies from the land. This is 
Calcutta, and here, mainly through the persistence of 
Charnock, the company started a factory from the 24th 
August 1690. 3 

Hunter ii chs 3, 4, and 7. 

§ 4. In England. The Company obtained a fresh 
Charter from James I in 1609 with ampler powers 
granted to them in perpetuity, and the support of 
many courtiers and men of rank enabled them to 
collect larger sums for their voyages and build their own 
ships. The Company raised joint stocks, each of them for 
a number of voyages in succession. On the other hand, 
the Dutch grew more and more hostile to them in the East 
Indies, and the King granted licenses to adventurers who 
behaved in Eastern seas like pirates, and the native rulers 
held the Company responsible for the injuries these 'inter- 
lopers' inflicted upon their subjects. During these early 
years the Company experienced many ups and downs of 

3 The district had the further a /vantage of being under the direct 
jurisdiction not of the Nawab but of one of the feudatories, the Raja Of 
Burdwan ( Orme Bk. VI vol. 11 p. 1 C). 


fortune, and but forg the footing they had more or less 
accidentally won at Surat and Madras, they might have 
been overwhelmed even before they had made a fair start. 
Another important factor that enabled them to weather 
the storms and squalls of these early years was the long 
period for which they entrusted their helm to one and the 
same individual as chairman. Sir Thomas Smythe the first 
Governor of the Company was re-elected every year upto 
1621 ; Sir Morris Abbot was Governor from 1624 to 1637; 
and William Cockayne, from 1643 to 1658. ] 

In 1635 Charles I granted a license to Sir William 
Courten and others to trade with the East, and the rival 
company thus started involved the East India Company in 
serious losses and troubles for years, for which no redress 
could be had either from King or Parliament. Moreover, 
as soon as the Civil War began, the Roundhead section of 
the Parliament, sitting at Westminster, seized the Com- 
pany's cannon, and took from them a forced loan of 
£ 5000. By 1647 even the Governor and 'committees' lost 
heart and seriously thought of winding up their affairs. 
But better days soon dawned. When the Commonwealth 
declared war against Holland the Company's wrongs at 
Amboyna and elsewhere figured amongst the causes. And 
the treaty of 1654 awarded the Company £ 85000 damages 
from the Dutch. The treaty with Portugal, a little later, also 
threw open the Portuguese East Indies to English ships. 
Earlier still, the Commonwealth Council of State had 
compelled the Company and Courten's Association, or the 
Assada Merchants ( as they had come to be called ), to 
arrange a compromise themselves, and the Parliament had 
resolved "that the trade to the East Indies should be carried 
on by one Company and with one Joint stock... under such 

1 Sir Morris Abbot was one of the founders of the E. I. Company. 
He was Deputy Governor from 1615 to 1623, and had been a 'Committee' 
for some years when elected Deputy Governor. William Cockayne had 
been a 'Committee' from 1629 and Deputy Governor from 1639. And 
after 1658 he served again as a 'Committee'. 


regulations as the Parliament shall think fit, and that the 
East India Company should proceed upon the agreemenl 
made between them and the Assada Merchants until furthei 
orders" (1650). Outside merchants also continued to 
clamour for permission to share in the Eastern trade, 
both individually and in associations. Licenses were 
granted to some of these petitioners also, but eventually 
the Commonwealth authorities examined the whole sub- 
ject thoroughly and were convinced that unless England 
was prepared to protect by diplomacy and by force of 
arms every English adventurer into the East, and also to 
keep a curb upon his actions at the same time that it 
accepted full responsibility for them as a State, the only 
alternative to " open trade " was a system of monopoly. 2 
This was therefore the basis upon which Cromwell grant- 
ed a fresh Charter on the 19th October 1657, which insist- 
ed upon the Company having " one continuous Joint 
Stock. " Under this Charter the Company themselves made 
regulations by which any one could join them on pay- 
ment of an entrance fee of £ 5, the minimum subscription 
for a shareholder was fixed at £ 100, each holder of £ 500 
stock was to have a vote in the ' general court, ' any 
holder of £ 1000 stock was eligible for election as a 
1 committee, ' eight of the twentyfour ' oommittees ' were 
to retire every year, and no one was to be Governor or 
Deputy-Governor for more than two consecutive years. 
Thus was the East India Company born again: " trans- 

2 " The form of monopoly, which later times resented, seemed 
natural to the men of the time. Nor, indeed, was the claim to some 
kind of monopoly unreasonable, in the special circumstances. If the 
State had no settled revenue for the purpose of extending the area of 
the national influence, and if the individual trader left to himself was 
powerless to encounter the risks, the Company which provided against 
these might well ask in return some compensation ; for the private 
trader, if able to trade in peace because of the security afforded by the 
Company's ships and forts, would by his freedom from such expenses be 
enabled to undersell the Company in th& h.oV>e market.'* — Cambridge 
Modern History IV, ch. 25, p. 730. 



formed/' says Hunter, "from a feeble relic of the mediaeval 
trade-guild into the vigorous forerunner of the modern 
Joint Stock Company. " 

Hunter i ch. 7; ii chs. 1, 5 and 6. 

§ 5 To 170J. — Charles II gave the Company several 
Charters. The first (1661) conceded to them wide 
powers over their subjects in the East, servants and others; 
allowed them to have ships of war, munitions and forts; 
and permitted them to make war and peace with non- 
Christian States. The same year he obtained Bombay as 
a wedding gift from Portugal and sent a small fleet to take 
possession, but the Portuguese Governor raised the ob- 
jection that the gift did not include Thana and Salsette. 
The dispute lasted over three years 1 and over three 
hundred out of the four hundred soldiers and sailors died 
in the meanwhile of scurvy and the climate. The royal 
officer in command waived the claim in order to save the 
remnant of his little band and obtained possession of 
Bombay Island in 1665. The king, however, found the 
new acquisition a white elephant and transferred it to the 
Company; and with it he granted a Charter (1669 ) creat- 
ing the first European regiment of the Company's army 
out of the officers and soldiers who were there. This 
Charter also empowered the Company to make laws and 
regulations, and invested them through their Governors 
and officers with extensive powers of civil and military 
government over their subjects. The Company induced 

1. The real motive of the Portuguese was, they thought Bombay 
Harbour too valuable to part with; " the best port," -wrote the 
Portuguese Viceroy (to his king), "Your Majesty possesses in India, with 
which that of Lisbon is not to be compared. " — Malabari Bombay in 
the Making, p. 94. Also when the final orders were received, " I fore* 
see the great troubles that from this neighbourhood will result to the 
Portuguese, ard that India will be lost on the same day on which the 
English nation is settled in Bombay-"— Gazetteer of Bombay City arid 
Island ii pp. 45-49. 

to 1707 11 

Indian merchants and artisans to migrate from Surat, 
adopted a liberal policy towards cultivators who were 
drawn within their limited boundaries from the surround- 
ing districts, and Bombay grew rapidly almost from the 
first. Charles's third Charter was similarly occasion- 
ed by his transfer of St. Helena to the Company 
and was equally liberal in its concession of powers. 
Moreover both at Bombay and at Madras there were 
rebellions and factious squabbles leading to bloodshed 
and disorder, and the Directors, finding their powers 
under these Charters inadequate, had to send out 
Commissioners with still wider exceptional powers to 
restore order. Hence the Charter of 1683 gave to the 
Company very nearly all the powers of a State, subject 
only to a reservation of the 'sovereign right power and 
dominion' of the Crown, 'when We shall be pleased to 
interpose Our Royal Authority thereon.' And the power 
to coin money at Madras and Bombay had been granted 
by an earlier Charter. James II further empowered the 
Company to raise naval forces (1686) and authorized 
them to establish a Municipality 2 at Madras ( 1687 ), who 
were to provide, among other things, 'a schoolhouse for the 
teaching of the native children to speak, read and write the 
English tongue and to understand arethmetick and mer- 
chants' accompts'. The Company's factories during all 
these years were under Surat, and the continuity of 
Government and policy that is secured by long rule under 
one and the same individual, we discover at this stage of 
the Company's history in the long tenures of office of the 
Surat Presidents. Sir George Oxenden filled the post from 
1662 to 1669. Gerald Aungier succeeded him on his death 
and died at his post in turn in 1 677. He is the real 
founder of Bombay. Under his firm tolerant and sympa- 
thetic regime the revenue of the place increased threefold 

2 The Mayor and two of the Aldermen were to be English, but cf 
the other ten, three were to be Portuguese, and seven Musalraans or 


and the population sixfold. Sir John Child was President 
from 1682 and he too died at his post in 1690. The 
transfer of the Company's headquarters from Surat to Bom- 
bay took place in his time in 1687, so that he may be looked 
upon as, in a sense, the first of the long line of the 
Governors of Bombay. 

For about a generation after the amalgamation with 
the Assada merchants, the Company followed a fairly 
liberal policy towards outsiders. Any Englishman was 
free to settle at any of its factories, its own servants were 
allowed to trade privately within reasonable limits and to 
settle in India after leaving service, and it also conceded 
licenses to the ships of adventurers to visit and trade at its 
settlement pretty freely. Nevertheless, the outside public 
were not satisfied. They wanted a perfectly open trade. 
And there were sympathisers with this view in the Company 
itself. A proposal was brought forward in 1681 to wind 
up the Joint Stock of 1657 and invite subscriptions for a 
new on from the public at large. This was defeated, how- 
ever, and from this point onwards the Company became 
stricter in asserting and maintaining its privileges and 
keeping 'interlopers' at arm's length. Charles II's Charter 
of 1683 authorized the Company to set up admiralty courts 
which could confiscate the ships and goods of all interlopers. 
The matter was fought out first in the law-courts. 3 The 
defeat of open trade there, however, served only to excite 
public opinion the more. And English swadeshi (^%^fr) 
opinion was also hardening fast against the calicoes, 
muslins, shawls and art fabrics of India. The struggle 
was transferred to Parliament and in January 1690 a 
committee of the Commons heard both sides and reported 
that there should be ' a new Company and a new Joint 
Stock established by Parliament'; but until it was establish- 
ed, the East India Company was to continue, all its 
privileges unimpaired. The next House of Commons was 

3 E. I. Co. v Sandys (1683-5), 

to 1707 13 

Tory, but it also decided against the retention of the 
Company in its exclusive character, and asked the King 'to 
dissolve it and issue a Charter to a new one on such terms 
as His Majesty might see fit ' ( 1692 ). The next year the 
Commons repeated this resolution emphatically, asking 
the King to give the Company the necessary notice. In- 
stead, what the Company obtained, however, from the 
King's ministers was a new Charter for twenty-one years 4 ; 
the only concession in it to outsiders was that the Com- 
pany's capital was to be increased by 744,000 1. new sub- 
scriptions. The Commons were naturally angry, and 
took advantage of the detention of an interloper's ship 5 
by the Privy Council at the instance of the Company, to 
declare 'that all Englishmen have equal right to trade to 
the East Indies unless prohibited by Act of Parliament 
( 1 694 ). TheJKing, too, thereupon revoked all the articles 
in his recent Charter against interlopers. Obviously, the 
matter could not be allowed to remain in such a mess. 
As soon as the war against France was over, Parliament 
passed an Act for raising a loan of two millions sterling at 
eight percent, and for settling the trade to the East Indies 
by founding a new Company, each subscriber to the loan 
to have the right of contributing a share in the Company's 
stock proportional to his subscription (1698). To this 
loan the East India Company promptly subscribed 315,000/., 
the largest single subscription. The most prominent of 
the other subscribers, however, combined together into a 
joint stock company, as the Act allowed, and on a peti- 
tion the King granted them an ample charter in the name 
of the " English Company trading to the East Indies. " 
Perhaps the most noteworthy novelty in this charter, 
which owing to subsequent events came to be the found- 
ation-stone of the United East India Company's privi- 

4. The result was due to Sir Josia Child's bribes, both heavy and 
discreet. The secret servicd money account of the Company placed be- 
fore the House of Commons Committee in 1695 showed that 23, 467 /. 
were expended thus between 1683 and 1692, and 80, 468 I. in 1693 

5. The Red Bridge. 


leges, is the following: " All ministers ( of religion ) shall 
be obliged to learn within one year after their arrival the 
Portuguese language, and shall apply themselves to learn 
the native language of the country where they shall re- 
side, the better to enable them to instruct the Gentoos 
that shall be the servants or slaves of the Company, or of 
their agents, in the Protestant Religion. " 

Both Companies were soon convinced that they must 
come to an understanding and amalgamate. In India the 
efforts of the new Company to establish the same three 
Presidencies as the old had created, and in the same places 
too, brought no gain to themselves and involved the old 
Company in great difficulties. In England the doubled 
imports glutted the markets and raised the swadeshi 
opposition to a height. Parliament penalised the wearing 
of Indian silks and imposed heavy duties upon their 
importation (1700). And a union appeared more and 
more imperative as the War of the Spanish Succession 
drew near. It was effected at last, exactly a week before 
the outbreak of the hostilities, in the form of an Indenture 
Tripartite between the Crown and the two Companies 
(1702). The new Company had subscribed 1,662,000 1. 
of the loan, the old Company had subscribed 315,000 1. 
The first condition of the Union therefore was that the old 
Company was to take over 673,5001. of the loan from the 
new, so as to equalize the shares of both. On the other 
hand the deadstock, houses, factories and forts of both the 
Companies together were valued at 400,000 1., of which the 
senior Company's share was worth 330,000 1., and so the 
new Company was to pay 130,000 1. to it, to equalize 
matters. Secondly, on the new board of directors each 
Company was to elect twelve and this joint board was to 
be supreme from the date of union. And, thirdly, seven 
years were to be allowed to each Company to wind up its 
separate affairs. The Act of Parliament 6 constituting this 

6 This Act, the Charter to the English Company, the Indenture 
Tripartite, and all resolutions of parliament on the Company's affairs 
from 1694 onwards should be printed in full by compilers of source-books. 

farrukh-siyar's farman 15 

"United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the 
East Indies," took from it a further loan of 1,200,000 1. in 
return for the privilege, and also provided that they were 
thereafter to receive annual interest for the whole amount 
of 3,200,000 1. at the rate of five per cent, only ( 1 707 ). 

Hunter ii chs. 7, 8 and 9. 

Hbert pp. 13-30. 

Roberts chs. 3 to 7, the best brief account of the first century. 



§ 6. Farrukh-siyar s Firman. — From the consti- 
tution of the United Company to the War of the Austrian 
Succession in Europe, the East India Company enjoyed 
nearly forty years of steady growth in resources, experi- 
ence, influence, and power. The period of peaceful 
penetration and local consolidation enabled the three 
Presidencies 1 to train up a body of men who knew their 
work and surroundings thoroughly, and were quite prepar- 
ed to face the greater problems and difficulties of the 
troubled times that followed. The great Mogul Emperors 
had administered their major provinces by a system of 
triple or quadruple establishments which served as checks 
upon one another. The Nawab, who was titular head of 
the province, had but a limited power confined to func- 
tions strictly circumscribed. The Diwan of the province 
was an independent officer with his own establish- 
ments in city and zilla, which exacted a strict 

1 Calcutta became finally independent of Madras, 1707. 


account of all the revenue and expenditure and 
rendered it direct to the imperial treasury. The customs 
revenue of the province was within the Diwan's direct 
control, and when the larger jagirs of the greater function- 
aries and; feudatories (to none of whom the Emperors allowed 
more than a life-interest) fell vacant on the death of an in- 
cumbent, it was the function of the Diwan rather than the 
Nawab to take possession. The judicial administration, 
again, such as it was, was in civil cases in the hands of 
kazis, whose dependence upon the Nawab was slight. 
And, lastly, even in military matters, the strong fort- 
resses in the province as also the imperial ports were 
entrusted each to a Governor, who was not a sub- 
ordinate of the Nawab. This system, however, had been 
breaking down during the last decades of Aurangzeb's 
reign, and soon after his death one and the same 
officer, styled the Subahdar, everywhere combined in 
his own person the duties of Nawab and Diwan, and 
succeeded in becoming the absolute ruler of his pro- 
vince in everything but the name. If he forwarded to 
Dehli more or less regularly a sum in commutation of the 
annual revenues of the province, and knew how to keep 
the influential ministers and courtiers surrounding the 
Emperoi well-disposed towards him, "he had nothing to 
fear but an army from Dehli, which was always coming 
but never came. " 2 All persons and powers, great and 
small, throughout the extensive empire, from village com- 
munities, trading castes, and industrial gilds, up to the 
great hereditary Rajas in Raj pu tana, felt the change that 
had come over the spirit of the Empire, and reacted to- 
wards it in one and the same way for the preservation of 
their rights from the growing exactions and tyrannies of 
the local magnate, and the increasing insecurity of their 
surroundings. They strengthened themselves as best 
they could, and also sought by all means in their power a 

2 jOrme, Dissertation ( vol I, p. 28). See on the subject, Sarkar, 
Mughal Administration ( 1920 ) ; Moreland, ch. 2. 

farrukh-siyar's firman 17 

clearer definition of their rights from the highest authority. 
The Company too had no other option. The zamindari 
rights over the district surrounding Calcutta 3 were 
purchased ( 1698) , and the fortifications of Fort William 
were strengthened (1707-14). And they sent an 
embassy to the emperor Farrukh-siyar. The President of 
Fort William in his petition for redress, called the Empe- 
ror "absolute monarch and prop of the universe," and com- 
pared himself to " the smallest particle of sand with his 
forehead at command rubbed on the ground. " 4 The griev- 
ances complained of related to all the three presidencies. 
And they were lucky in getting full redress-on paper-on 
all the main points within the short space of two years. 
This was the result of the Mogul fear of the Company's 
strength at sea. Bombay, unable to stand any longer the 
excessive exactions of the Governor of Surat, withdrew 
the factory from that port in 1717, which instantly excited 
serious alarm. For it was remembered that the last with- 
drawal of the kind had been followed by the Company's 
fleet preying upon Mogul shipping wherever found 
throughout the Indian seas. 5 Farrukh-siyar's firman 

3 Sutanuti • Govindpur and Calcutta. Fort William was built at 
Govindpur as soon as tho Zamindari was acquired. Prince Azim-ush 
Shan, Farrukh-siyar's father, was Nawab at the time, and granted the 
Co. all they asked for, "having bent his chief attention to the amass- 
ing of a treasure., against" the contest for the succession, certain to 
break out on the death of Aurangzeb. — Mill IV ch. 1 p. 26. 

4 Roberts p. 62. 

5 In 1686-7, when the loss inflicted was valued at over £ 1,000,000, 
and the trade from Surat and other ports was dislocated until peace 
wa^made, 1690. Orrae ( Bk VI), Mill ( Bk iv ch. i ) and other writers 
following them attribute the success of this embassy in some part to 
the influence of Hamilton, a physician who happened to cure the 
Emperor of some illness. But he treated the Emperor during October 
and November 1715, while the firman was not granted till July 1717. 
Orme's own account shows that at the most the physician's influence 
only saved the embassy from a dismissal soon after their arrival, al- 
though this they had fully earned by their stupid disregard of the Vazir, 
tho only proper official through whom to approach the Emperor. 
Again, Mill's language about the " public spirit " and " generosity" of 
Hamilton, who " preferred the Company's interest to his own, " is 
hardly justified. The Emperor celebrated his recovery by a public 
durbar, 30th November 1715, at which he rewarded Hamilton with a 
splendid poshak— diamond rings, kalgi with precious stones, gold 
buttons set with jewels, a miniature gold set of medical instruments, &c, 
and also an elephant, a horse, and Rs. 5000 — Auber, quoting from the, 
reports of the embassy to Calcutta, Vol, I, p. 20, 



allowed the Madras Presidency to take possession for an 
annual quit-rent of some villages round Madras, which the 
Subahdar of the Karnatak had granted but again resumed. 
The Bombay Presidency obtained the valuable right of ex- 
emption of their imports and exports at Surat from inspec- 
tion and delay ; they had only to pay a fixed annual sum 
in commutation of customs. The cargoes of English ships 
wrecked anywhere along the Mogul coasts were to be pro- 
tected from plunder. And Calcutta obtained exemp- 
tion from stoppage and examination of all goods and 
ships certified by the President's dastak ( ^v% signature 
i. e. signed certificate ) as belonging to the Company. 
This was a most valuable privilege which the Company 
tried to stretch to the uttermost. The Subahdar of Ben- 
gal refused to recognise the validity of the President's 
dastak in the internal trade of the province, or in goods 
passing up or down by land. On water, however, the 
Company was strong, and the effect of the firman was to 
enable them to quickly monopolise the entire riverine and 
inter-provincial trade of this rich province. The President 
granted his dastak not only to the Company's goods, but 
also to the goods of the Company's servants, who traded 
largely on their own account, and were allowed by their 
masters to do so in many articles, since the salaries paid 
to them were miserably low. And the Company's servants 
began to earn large commissions besides, from the native 
merchants, merely by extending to them also the protec- 
tion of the President's dastak. The volume of the goods 
thus entrusted to them for transport rose very rapidly, 
and the Company further improved their gains by increas- 
ing their own shipping. The Emperor his ministers and 
his courtiers, it may be noted in passing, could not possi- 
bly have realised that their firman would thus enable a 
foreign Company to engross so high a proportion of the 
trade and shipping of the richest province of the empire- 
When the firman reached Calcutta, Madras and Bombay 
the presidents and council received it with regal honours ; 
151 guns from the fort and the broadsides of every vessel 


in the port roared forth their jubilant welcome. Orme 
called it the Magna Charta of the Company, and it certain- 
ly gave them an assured legal status and constitutional 
rights derived from the highest authority in India. The 
very fact that the Company habitually exaggerated the 
worth and significance of such grants and concessions as they 
had hitherto obtained, shows the high value rightly attached 
to & firman of the Emperor under the Mogul systemTl 

Roberts, ch. 8. 
Mill, Bk. iv ch. 1. 

§ 7. New Era. — Thus a hundred and fifty years after 
their foundation the East India Company were rulers at 
Bombay but only zamindars at Madras and Calcutta, and 
mere traders at their factories inland. But a new era 
began in their fortunes with the war of the Austrian 
Succession and in the short space of twenty years (1745-65 ) 
transformed them into a powerful State ruling over exten- 
sive provinces. And when once they began to mount up 
the ladder of power they ascended the steps easily and 
rapidly, until before long they were firmly established on 
the summit. Many causes contributed to this result, 
which was as unexpected and unforeseen by the Company 
themselves as by any one else. 

The main internal cause was that the Mogul Empire 
had broken down, political conditions in India had become 
chaotic, and the country was in the throes of an "internal 
revolution," "a state of chronic war and mutual plunder," 
during which "authority had fallen on the ground and lay 
there waiting to be picked up by somebody." 1 Wars, it 
must be noted, can only be carried on for many years at a 
stretch when the theatre of warfare can itself be made to 
supply in abundance the men and resources so essential to 
prolonged operations ; but a state of internal revolution is 
also a state, of chronic warfare just because it fulfils these 
conditions^ > 

1 See e Expansion^ II series, esp, Lee, iii. 


The main external cause was that England had already 
won a position of maritime supremacy in the world, and 
every effort made by her European rivals singly and in 
combination to challenge and weaken this, enabled her on 
the contrary to strengthen it more and more throughout 
the eighteenth century. 2 The principal rival of the 
English in India was the French East India Company, 
which was by far the weaker of the two in every respect. 
Even if the two Companies had been left to fight it out by 
themselves, the English Company was certain to win. 
And it so happened that France was also the principal 
rival of England in Europe and America. Thus although 
the E. I. Company was in fact only a petty monopolist 
body of a few hundred traders-not all 'of them Englishmen 
— its cause nevertheless assumed a national aspect, and 
England as a State gave it a fairly consistent support at 
this critical stage of its fortunes in war and in diplomacy. 

Nor should some remarkable traits of the English 
character be forgotten. The history of no other people 
shows such uniform good luck ; perhaps because ( 1 ) the 
English have extraordinary staying-power, ( 2 ) they 
discern and seize opportunities, and ( 3 ) in the moment 
of success they restrain themselves, they keep cool, and 
are content with appropriating less of the legitimate fruits 
and spoils of victory than almost any other people. The 
history of no other nation shows such uniform good luck ; 
perhaps also because while few — very very few English 
statesmen soldiers or admirals have been men of genius, 
( 4 ) the proportion amongst their empire-builders has 
been surprisingly large of administrators, who, as even 
Mill was constrained to admit in the case of Warren Hast- 
ings, "excelled in applying temporary expedients to temp- 
orary difficulties ; in putting off the evil day ; in giving a 
fair complexion to the present one." 3 At any rate, it is a 

2 Mahon, Sea Power, esp. ch. 7 pp. 273-9, ch. 8pp 305-310 and oh, 12. 

3 Mill, Bk. V, ch. 8, last paragraph. 


historical fact that the Indians of that century soon 
discovered something subtle behind the Company which 
they called her < Star ' and came to repose more and more 
faith in it. — . 

To pass on to causes and influences not so difficult 
to appraise. The Indian States pitted against the Com- 
pany were under a system of personal rule. A particu- 
lar ruler might be able and trusted by his people and 
army, and might have a clear far-seeing policy to^which he 
resolutely clung ; but on his death there might be a war of 
succession, a minority', or a successor who was incompe- 
tent or distrusted or hampered by palace intrigues, or one 
who, though free from such difficulties and able himself, 
might have other aims or methods. 4 A corporate. authori- 
ty might also be distracted by personal jealousies and 
differences: the ill-success of the French in ^India was to 
some extent at least due to this cause. But even preju- 
diced students of the history of the East India Company 
must admit that it showed less of this defect than might 
have been expected. A united front was maintained on 
the whole, a fairly continuous policy was evolved, al- 
though the field of operations must have looked to the 
foreign eyes of these pioneers bewilderingly various and 
tropically prolific of surprises. The French have more 
practical originality and less colour prejudice than any 
other " white " people, and it was in the fitness of things 
that they should have been the first to try and test the 
experiment of imparting the weapons and discipline 
of the European art of war to Indian soldiers. It was 
also quite as natural that the English should reap the 
full harvest of what others had sown, merely in an 
experimental farm, as it were. For, supposing for the sake 

4 A very good instance of this last is the remarkable ^change that 
came over the war of the Karnatak immediately on the.death of 
Haidar Ali. Tipu was also a strong and: able ruler, but of a type'alto- 
gether different from his veteran father, who sensitively shifted] his 
sails to every breeze that blew. 


of argument that the French had not been knocked 
out of the ring at so early a stage -.—there would 
have been a French zone in India defended by an army 
mainly Indian ; the organisation of that force would have 
been very different from that of the Indian army created by 
the English East India Company ; that part of India would 
in all probability have been annexed to the mother country 
at an early stage of its history, and would have become as 
integral a part of France as is Algiers. There would thus 
have been a super-imposition of the French culture upon 
Indian, and this might have developed one knows not what 
disorders, tumults and horrors ; and, lastly, even supposing 
them all successfully surmounted, that zone would have 
remained un-Indian for one knows not how many centuries. 
Finally, with Chanda Saheb began a long line of Indian 
rulers and adventurers who saw the European art of war 
exemplified by armies composed mainly of Indian soldiery, 
and grasped its supreme importance for success as soon as 
they saw it. The greatest in this line of succession were 
Sadashivrav Bhau, Mahadji Shinde ( Sindhia ), and Ranjit- 
Sing, — each of whom acquired far more of it than his 
predecessor. But none, not even the last, could master it 
fully. And no wonder. Generalship, strategy, tactics; 
the provision of the necessary forts, ordnance, munitions ; 
the training of the unit, the company, the army-corps ; the 
proportion of the various arms ; their proper use at the 
right moment and point in the right manner ; the keeping 
of an army in being in peace and in war, in victory as well 
as in defeat; not to mention inventions or improve- 
ments: — it is too complex a matter to be mastered without 
several generations of a continuous tradition. The army 
at the front needs to be fed continuously, and not with 
food only ; and that means factories and military colleges, 
and behind and supporting it all, a highly developed stable 
political social and economic system. In one word, the 
army scientifically trained and equipped, is, to use an 
Indian figure, the mace of Bhima; but Bhima the Pandawa 
alone can wield it and smash his foes with it. In some 


lesser hand, it invariably smashes up both him and itself 
to pieces. Thus it was that the miracle of an all-red India 
came about quite un-miraculously in the course of the 
sanguinary century between the petty and chance en- 
counter at St. Thome (1746) and the great artillery battle 
atGujrat( 1849 ). 

§ 8. The Diwani. Within twenty years of the 
deposition and murder of Farrukh-siyar Nadir Shah's inva- 
sion reduced the Mogul Empire to a mere name, and 
Subahdars in the outlying provinces became independent. 
The founders of these new kingdoms were self-made men 
trained to arms and administration in the hard school of 
personal ups and downs and while they lived their sway 
over the provinces they had seized and were holding to- 
gether was a reality. But the moment their eyes were 
closed chaos began. Dupleix and Bussy tried to turn the 
situation to the profit of the French Company at Arkat 
and Haiderabad and failed ( 1748-61 ). Clive at Murshida- 
bad and Patna succeeded ( 1757-65 ). Siraj-ud-doula was 
deposed. Mir Jaffar was placed on the masnad,* but soon 
discovered that he could neither control his foreign allies, 
nor satisfy their greed, nor maintain himself without their 
support. All North India went in daily dread of Ahmad 
Shah Abdali's movements. Shahzada Ali Gauhar, more- 
over, appeared with an army on the borders of Bihar, 
appointed Subahdar of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa by his 
father the Emperor. Mill is of opinion that the English 
might now have transferred their support from Mir Jaffar 
to him. " On what side justice lay, " he remarks, " is 

1 "The revolution of 1756-7 was... the overthrow of a Muhamma- 
dan Government by the; trading and financial classes, Hindu and 
British; both the latter gained commercially, though the British took 
the predominant part in the actual events, and alone succeeded to the 
political sorereignty"— -Roberts, p. 130. The parties to the conspiracy 
against Siraj-ud-doula were three: Mir Jaffar or rather, I should say, 
Miran and the Muhammadan leaders in the army, the sheths, and the 
English. The statement that the Hindu trading and financial classes 
also gained by the revolution requires proof. 


evident enough. On what side policy, is a more subtle 
inquiry." 2 The people concerned, however, from Shuj- 
ud-doula of Oudh and Ramnarayan of Bihar downwards, 3 
no longer considered it obligatory to pay any respect 
whatever to the rights and firmans of the Emperor — who 
was a mere tool in the hands of Vazir Gazi-ud-din, or to 
the claims of a Prince, who had constantly plotting against 
him that unscrupulous Vazir as his mortal enemy. In 
the course of his second invasion, however, he had him- 
self, on his father's death in November 1759, become 
Emperor as Shah Alum, and after the decisive battle of 
Panipat ( 1761 ), Ahmad Shah Abdalli had acknowledged 
his title and recommended his restoration to Dehli to 
Shuja-ud-doula, Najib-ud-doula and the other Muhamma- 
dan princes of Hindustan. The East India Company 
therefore thought it prudent to regularise the position in 
th^e lower provinces. Although they had defeated him in 
i battle, they invited him over to Patna, where Mir Kasim 
( who had replaced Mir Jaffar ) rendered him homage, and 
it was agreed that an annual tribute of Rs. twentyfour 
lacs was to be paid to him. The Emperor at the same 
time offered the diwani of the provinces to the Company 
and requested their aid for his advance upon Dehli. But 
the general instructions of the Court of Directors were 
" \o act with the almost caution " and both the adventure 
and the offer were declined. 4 

This offer of the Diwani had indeed come as early as 
1758. The Dehli treasury had been receiving from the 
lower provinces an annual revenue of Rs. fifty lacs before 
the breakdown of the Mogul administration, and it was 

2 Also — " To oppose him was undisguised rebellion." Bk. IV ch. 6. 

3 Seir, Section IX. The author also notes the reluctance of the 
English, at first, to appear in arms against the Shahzada; and observes 
that it was because they were " uninformed of the real state of affairs 
in Hindustan" — Vol. II, p. 326. Roberts' views of this raid of AH Gauhar's 
( India, p 146 ), as well as of his next ( p. 158 ), are quite different, 

i Seir, Section X ( II 404-409 ); Auber, I 79-84. 


only natural that the Emperor and his ministers should 
still cast longing eyes at such an income, and be 
always ready to pass the deeds in favour of any one 
at all likely not only to accept but also to fulfil the 
responsibility of a more or less regular remittance. But 
power has its duties no less than its spoils, and the spoils 
of power must sooner or later drop out of the hands that 
have lost the ability to discharge the duties. Clive had 
referred to this offer in his letter to Pitt (1759) and 
expressed his own view in no uncertain terms that it 
would be a magnificent acquisition for the Kingdom of 
England, whereas "so large a sovereignty may possibly be 
an object too extensive for a mercantile Company." 5 Pitt 
however was not to be tempted, although Clive's agent told 
him that " if the State neglected it, the Company in pro- 
cess of time would secure it, that they would even find 
themselves under a necessity to do it for their greater 
quiet and safety, exclusive of gain. " If Mir Jaffar had 
shown greater capacity, or if the Company's servants had 
proved less rapacious, if the Company's arms had been 
less irresistible, or even if Clive had not with the audacity 
of genius completely extinguished the political influence 
of the French and the Dutch in this part of India, the ful» 
filment of this forecast might have been delayed. As it 
was, Mir Jaffar was deposed, Mir Kasim was driven into a 
war, the first was re-installed, and on his death, not his 
grand-son and heir, but his second son was elevated, and 
it was stipulated, moreover, that all his power was to be 
actually exercised by a Naib ( deputy ) chosen by the 
Company. Thus the Nawab, whose jealousy of the 
Company acquiring an independent status was one reason 
for their hesitation in the past, sank into a mere puppet 
and ceased to count. On another point also the Com* 
pany were now prepared by eight years of close contact 
and crowded experience to judge and act for themselves* 

5 Firminger f pp clv-elvL 



The Emperor, the Nawab Vazir, the Rohilla and other 
Muhammadan chiefs, their actual power and their mutual 
relations, their designs and their methods, the Company 
were now able to estimate and utilise for their own ends, 
and so as to suit their own peculiar constitution. While the 
Indian princes with whom they had to deal were thinking 
only of the situation in India, the Company had to consi- 
der no less their own position in English law and polity, 
and England's relations with other European powers. 
Hence, they wanted a legalised status within the Indian 
political system, the status not of a sovereign but of a 
subordinate under the chhatra ( umbrella ) of the Emperor 
and the Nawab, and yet they also wanted an absolutely 
free hand within the territory they occupied, and, lastly, a 
land frontier or barrier not imposing upon them too great 
a strain to defend. After the decisive battle of Baksar, 
and especially after the skirmish near Kora ( May 1765 ), 
when Shuja-ud-doula's last ally, Mulharji Holkar, " gallop- 
ed up and down like one desirous to do something, but 
confounded and appalled by the English fire, put spurs to 
his horse and galloped away altogether, " 6 the Compan y 
could have seized the whole of their enemy's territories; 
or they could have accepted the Emperor's proposal to 
take Gazipur and Benares for themselves, and let him 
have the rest. There must have been other proposals 
also from Balwantsing of Benares, Sitab Rai, and other 
friends and counsellors. But the Company were bent 
upon securing — not as large a territory as they could 
seize, nor the position of a sovereign— but something far 
more modest and serviceable: reliable friends, a stable 
frontier, an unimpeachable title, and, behind these, years 
of peaceful and profitable trade. This is the meaning of 
the Diwani treaties between the Company, the Emperor, 
the Nawab Vazir, and the Raja of Benares, though the 
whole proceedings had to outward appearance an un* 
reality, which historians, from the author of the Seir 

6 Seir II 580. 


Mutakherin downwards, have not scrupled to ridicule. 
If a definite time point be desired from which to date the 
beginning of the British power in India, it is far more 
accurate to fix it at the 16th January 1761, when Pondicheri 
changed hands, or at the 10th February 1763, when the 
Treaty of Paris was signed, or at the 23rd October 1764, 
the date of the decisive battle of Baksar, or finally at the 
12th August 1765, the date of the diwani firman, rather 
than at the third battle of Panipat with which the English 
had nothing to do, or at the flight of Siraj-ud-daula from 
Plassey, which even military enthusiasts cannot magnify 
into a battle. 

Aitchison, I 227 gives the text. 
Roberts, chs. 13 and 14. 
Mill, IV chs. 3, 5 and 7. 
Firminger, ch. 8. 

§ 9. The Regulating Act : — We have seen how 
Farrukh-siyar's firman was interpreted and how immensely 
the East India Company prospered under the concessions 
granted in the lower provinces. These arrangements, how- 
ever, had left the internal trade and all the land trade in 
the hands of the inhabitants and subject to such duties 
and regulations as the Nawab might impose. And dis- 
putes and differences between the Company or its servants 
on the one hand and his subjects on the other, went to the 
Nawab and his courts for settlement. But as soon as the 
revolution of 175 7 was accomplished and Mir Jaffar became 
Nawab, the logic of events placed the East India Company 
and their servants and agents, English and Indian, above 
the government of the country. "Neither the Nawab nor 
his officers dared to exert any authority against the 
English, of whatever injustice and oppression they might 
be guilty. The gumastas or Indian agents employed by 
the Company's servants not only practised unbounded 
tyranny, but overawing the Nawab and his highest officers, 
converted the tribunals of justice themselves into instru* 


ments of cruelty, making them inflict punishment upon 
the very wretches whom they oppressed and whose only 
crime was their not submitting with sufficient willingness 
to the insolent rapacity of these subordinate tyrants. ..The 
crimes of the English and their agents" went unpunished, 
"and the unhappy natives lay prostrate at their feet." 1 Did 
not the Company's trade prosper all the more ? It is quite 
impossible for trade to prosper, if industry and labour of 
all kinds languish, as these must, where there is no justice 
to be had, and where there is no security that the worker 
will himself reap the legitimate fruits of his own industry 
and skill. Besides, the Company's servants of every 
grade were only too eager to imitate the unworthy example 
set by Clive and his associates, and all and each plunged 
into the tempting task of accumulating princely fortunes 
as rapidly as possible. And these India-returned 'Nabobs' 
bought country seats and rotten boroughs, speculated in 
the Company's shares and on the Exchange, and thrust 
themselves into society and parliament. The evil was of 
a cumulative nature, the entire tone of life, public, social 
and private, was threatened, and no defence or remedy 
was possible unless the rank growth could be cut at its 
economic roots, and the roots themselves dug up and 
destroyed. Some of the most clear-sighted men in Parlia- 
ment applied themselves resolutely to the task. "If sover- 
eignty and law," said Colonel Burgoyne, "are not separated 
from trade, India and Great Britain will be sunk and over- 
whelmed, never to rise again." 2 And they honestly 
believed it to be an essential part of their patriotic task to 

1 Mill IV ch. 7. Compare Lecky ch. 12:— "Never before had the 
natives experienced a tyranny which was at once so searching 
and so strong. Every Sepoy in the service of the Co. felt himself in- 
vested with the power of his masters. Whole districts which had once 
been populous and flourishing were at last utterly depopulated, and it 
was noticed that on the appearance of a party of English merchants the 
villages were at once deserted, and the shops shut, and the roads throng- 
ed with panic-stricken fugitives." And Adam Smith IV ch. 7. 

% Roberts, p, 163. 


make an example of Clive himself, the most eminent of the 
' Nabobs. ' The Court of Directors, too, tried every means 
in their power to forbid, to penalise and to end finally and 
for ever all private trade by their servants. But the only 
instruments through whom they could work were their 
own servants in India, and the magnitude of the tempta- 
tions and opportunities which these had so suddenly thrust 
before them, tainted the whole class. It is sometimes said 
that the Company were not liberal enough to raise their 
salaries to a pitch demanded by the altered cirumstances. 
But the change brought about had been so sudden and 
revolutionary in character, that it was not easy to readjust 
salaries all at once. Nor would a mere increase in the 
salaries, however great, have answered the purpose ; what 
was really wanted was a new class of servants, drawn from 
a higher stratum of society and with a higher outlook and 
sense of duty ; and this it was not in the power of a body 
of traders to supply. And besides, for one and the same 
corporation to be both a trading body and a ruling power 
responsible for the welfare of millions of subjects, was in 
itself a combination of a vicious character, radically un- 
sound, and^certain to give rise to incurable anomalies and 
iniquities. Such were the deeper ideas and motives seek- 
ing to guide the action of Parliament — and of the British 
ministry — on Indian questions, from the moment that the 
Company ceased to be mere traders; ideas and motives 
which continue to gather force until they achieve their 
triumphs in the great Charter Acts of the next century. 

In the beginning, however, it is not at all surprising 
that even the best advocates of these ideas did not see 
very clearly all that was implied, or how to apply their 
own notions of what was ultimately right and proper 
to the complex concrete and urgent problems presented 
by the Company. As the value of their stock rose in the 
market the proprietors had insisted upon better dividends. 3 

3 1755 to 1766-6 % ; 1767 to 69-10 % ; 1770-11 % ; 1771-12 % i 1773 
and first half of 1773— 12^ %. 


The Government, too, had as a temporary measure im- 
posed upon the Company an annual tribute of & 400,000, 
in return for a permission to. keep the territorial revenues 
to themselves. 4 Lastly, 1769-70 was in the lower pro- 
vinces a year of famine so severe that the starvation and 
the pestilence which followed carried off over a crore of 
people, at least a third of the usual area ceased to be 
cultivated, and the after effects continued for over twenty 
years, until at last the country made a fresh start from 
the date of the permanent settlement of Lord Cornwallis. 
The Presidency of Madras had also got into a tangle 
of grave embarrassments, 5 and the Company's finances 
in England could no longer stand the strain. Their 
credit was exhausted, their tribute for 1 772 could not be 
paid in full, and, at the end of their resources, they 
were forced to petition the ministry for a loan of one 
million pounds ( August 1772 ). The Parliament and the 
general public had been taking increased interest in the 
affairs of the Company since 1757, and the many personal 
enemies Lord Clive had made wanted to punish and dis- 
honour him. The Parliament had already appointed 
a Select Committee for a thorough investigation into the 
affairs of the Company, and now appointed a Secret 
Committee. The evils revealed by the reports of these 
Committees were — ( 1 ) vast sums had been obtained by 
the Company from the native powers as compensation for 
losses and military operations, ( 2 ) and by the Company's 
servants as presents, 6 ( 3 ) revolutions and wars had been 

4 By an Act of 1767 followed up by another, April 1769, which 
prohibited any higher increase of dividends than at one per cent, per 
annum, or any increase beyond 12H %• The E. I. Co. had also been pay- 
ing customs duties upon their exports and imports annually amounting 
to not less than 114, millions. 

5 Neither was Bombay better off ; in 1773-4, e. g., its expenditure 
was £ 347000 as against a revenue of £ 109000, although it had an 
army of only 6400 men as against Madras— 20,000, and Bengal 27000 
( Burgess). 

6 "A great part of these gifts, going to minor servants for procur- 
ing minor promotions, have never been traced. "— Lecky, ch.l2 f 


frequent with the result that the country was unsettled 
and the military and other expenditure exceeded the 
revenues, (4 s ) the plunder and oppression of the people 
were alarming to contemplate, ( 5 ) the servants of the 
Company were devoid of all sense of subordination, 
discipline, or public spirit, and pursued their own selfish 
interests and private quarrels in such a manner as often 
to risk the total loss of the Company's possessions in 
India, ( 6 ) the three Presidencies went each their own 
way without any unity of aim or policy or mutual co- 
operation, and in England itself ( 7 ) the proprietorship of 
the shares changed hands frequently, without any genuine 
sale or purchase, merely to influence the voting, and 
( 8 ) the board of directors, too, were a changing miscel- 
laneous body inherentlyjncapable of any steady influence 
or continuity of policy^] 

As a consequence two Acts were passed. The first 
granted the Company a loan of & 1,400,000 at 4 °/ , 
dropped the annual tribute until this loan was repaid, 
restricted the Company's dividends, and obliged them to 
regularly submit their half-yearly accounts to the Treasury. 
The second is the well-known Regulating Act, which 
came into force in England from the 1st October 1773 and 
in India from the 20th October 1774, the three new coun- 
cillors named in and appointed by the Act not reaching 
Calcutta till the preceding afternoon. 7 

The most successful of its provisions were those 
which related to the organisation of the Company in Eng- 
land. The Act raised the qualification for a vote at the 
meetings of 'proprietors or share-holders from & 500 to 
& 1000, and provided that in future each director was to 
hold office for four years, only six of the number retiring 
at the end of each year. These changes increased the 
authority of the Court of Directors, made them less de- 
pendent upon the proprietors, and more amenable to the 

7 Auber, I p, 446. 


influence of the Ministers. These latter were also to be 
furnished with copies of all important communications 
from India, so that they could keep continuously in touch 
with Indian affairs, if only they chose to do so. Thus was 
taken the first step, a tentative one, from which, as we 
shall see, the ministry advanced within a few years to 
direct guidance of the policy of the Company. 

The three presidencies in India were independent of 
one another. This Act made the presidency of Bengal 
supreme. The other two were not to make war or peace 
( except in a case of absolute urgency) without the previ- 
ous sanction of Bengal or of the Board of Directors in 
England. They were to keep Bengal ( as well as the 
Directors in England ) regularly and fully informed, and 
to attend to and carry out the orders from Bengal as 
promptly and dutifully as those from England. And 
Bengal was given the power to suspend in case of need 
the President and council of any of these presidencies. 

This unification of authority in India was a great step 
in advance, and it did not come a moment too soon, 
although its full effects could only be realized as communi- 
cations by land between the three presidencies came to 
be developed. It so happened, moreover, that the new 
order had to be given effect to in the midst of a war ( the 
first Maratha War ), as to which the Bombay Presidency 
were fully determined to listen to no opinion adverse to 
their own; and historians of India have, as a rule, been so 
taken up by the varying incidents of this war, and by the 
conflict of views about it between Bombay, and Hastings' 
councillors, and Hastings, and the Directors in England, 
that they have failed to appreciate the fundamental import- 
ance and soundness of these common-sense provisions. 

The three presidencies in India had hitherto been 
ruled by a Governor or President, assisted by a Council 
( of all the senior servants of the Company ) who rarely 
numbered less than twelve or more than sixteen. But 


most of these were often absent from the capital, being 
also chiefs of the principal factories in the various cities 
of the province. All questions were decided by the 
president and council jointly, and by a majority of the 
votes of those present. As the affairs of the Company in 
each presidency increased in importance and complexity 
this system appeared more and more defective and 

For Bengal the Regulating Act substituted for it a 
Governor General and four Councillors, armed with su- 
preme authority in India, to decide all affairs by a majority. 
The Governor General was only given one vote out of five, 
and a casting vote only in case of a tie, but this could not 
occur unless one of the four councillors was absent or 
there was a vacancy in the council. All five were to hold 
office for five years, and none of them could be removed 
in the meanwhile, except by the King on a representation 
from the Court of Directors. The Act appointed the first 
Governor General and Councillors by name: two of these, 
Hastings, appointed the Governor General, and Barwell, 
appointed Councillor, were then in India, and had risen to 
the highest posts in the Company's service from the 
bottom, but the other three had no Indian experience 

These three, however, came to India full of prejudices 
against the Company and its servants, and resolved to act 
together and to concentrate the whole power of the Com- 
pany in India into their own hands. They also conducted 
themselves in a reckless and unscrupulous maimer in 
order to achieve this object. Thus until one of them, 
Clavering, died, in November 1776, they created a lot of 
muddle and mischief, which Hastings and Barwell were 
impotent to check or remedy. 

The salary of the Governor General was to be 25,000/., 
and that of a member of his council 10,00Q/. a year. 8 No 
servant of the King or of the Company was to receive any 

8 Clavering received another 6000 L as Commander in Chief. The 
Chief Justice vas to receive 8000 L and each of the other juJges, 6000/, 


presents, and all private trade was forbidden to the 
Governor General, the members of his Council, and the 
judges of the supreme Court to be presently mentioned. 

Far more radical than any of the above changes, was 
the power which the Act conferred upon the Crown to 
charter a Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta, consist- 
ing of a Chief Justice and three other Judges to be ap- 
pointed by the Crown, and with full power to exercise all 
civil, criminal, admiralty, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 
This court was given jurisdiction over all British subjects 
and all servants whether of the Company or of British sub- 
jects, in the Company's territories. The Governor General 
and the Councillors were also subjected to the jurisdiction 
of this Court for treason or for felony but for these offences 
only. And the Court was also given jurisdiction in cases 
arising out of contracts between British subjects and natives 
of India, if the latter had agreed in the contract to accept 
such jurisdiction. 

Now, since 1726, Mayor's Courts had existed at the 
presidency towns, and the president in council had enter- 
tained appeals from these and had also exercised criminal 
jurisdiction". Final appeals went up from both to the Privy 
Council in England. In Bengal, moreover, diwani ( civil ) 
and faujdari ( criminal ) courts had been established in 
each district and the superior Sadr Diwani Adalat and 

9. The president and five of the senior members of council, as 
justices of peace were empowered to hold petty and quarter sessions 
for the trial of criminal offences. The Company had also esta- 
blished zamindari courts wherever they had acquired zamindari rights. 
And when they decided to "stand forth as diw an" and deprived the 
Nawah and his Naib of their uizamat jurisdiction also, Hastings 
established Ibe adalatz. >See next footnote. 


Sadr Nizaraat Adalat at the capital. 10 What was to be the 
relation of these courts and their jurisdiction to this new 
creation ? 

Lastly, the Governor General in Council was empower- 
ed to make rules, ordinances and regulations for the better 
government of the Company's territories, which were to be 
registered and approved by the Supreme Court ; and if so 
approved, they were to go into effect at once. But power was 
reserved to the King in Council, who, on appeal, could dis- 
approve any of them within two years. 

These parts of the Regulating Act have been justly 
censured for their vagueness. What law was the Supreme 
Court to administer ? As between the Governor General in 
Council and the Supreme Court what were the limits of the 
powers and jurisdiction of each? And what about the civil 
and criminal courts mentioned above ? The Regulating Act 
was silent on these and similar matters of grave import- 
ance. And Hastings and the first Chief Justice Sir Elijah 
Impey had to evolve such practical compromises as were 
possible, until decisions of the Privy Council and further 

10 These District and Sadr courts were the creation of Hastings 
In the civil district courts the Collector presided and was assisted by 
the diwan or native revenue officer for the district. In the criminal 
district courts the collector was assisted by the kazi and mufti of the 
district ; two moulavies also attended, The appellate court for civil 
cases at the capital was presided over by the President himself; and 
he was helped by two of the members of council, the diwan of the khalsa 
lauds, the head kanungoes, and other kacheri officers. The appellate 
court for criminal cases at the capital was presided over by the Daroga 
Adalat ( the deputy of the Nazim ) and'he was helped by the chief kazi, 
the chief mufti, and three moulavies. Hastings had thus continued 
"with scrupulons exactness the constitutional forms of judicature" to 
which the people had been accustomed. The mufti was the expounder of 
the law; but the kazi and the rnoulaviex were also learned in the law, and 
if they disagreed with the mufti's fatwa, the matter went to the court of 
appeal, and if necessary, even the whole body of the learned in the law 
might be consulted. — Auber I pp. 425-8. 


legislation 11 by parliament gradually created u mor-.! atUm« 
factory system. 

Mukarji I pp 20-28, the text. 
llbert pp 38-44. 
Roberts ch. 16. 

Lecky in ch. 12 the Affair* of the E. 1. Co: — shows that although 
the Regulating Act passed by large majorities, there were impor- 
tant sections of opinion which viewed even such a 'half-measure \ 
and indeed the entire proceedings of the Ministry with reference 
to the Company from 1766, as a high-handed invasion of its 
rights and property as a Chartered Company. 

lirminger ch 13, a learned and discriminating defence of the Act. 

§ io Pitt's India Act. The elder Pitt had rejected 
Clive's suggestion that the lower Provinces be annexed 
to England, mainly because he thought that such a step 
must increase enormously the influence of the Crown in 
the English constitution, and this influence the Whigs of 
the day held even apart from any increase to be so large 
as to be a danger to the liberties of the country. But this 
influence had been considerably reduced by the course of 
events which ended in the failure of England in the war 
against the revolted colonies and in the resignation of 
Lord North ; and the second Rockingham Ministry, which 
came into power in spite of the King, reduced it still 
further by several great measures securing the purity of 
elections and the independence of parliament. Then 
followed the Coalition, in spite of the greatest possible 
efforts on the part of the King to entrust the helm to some 
other combination of parliamentarians. The Company's 
affairs, meanwhile, had shown no improvement. Madras 
and Bombay had been on the brink of destruction and had 
been reduced to a pitiful condition by wars which it was 
difficult to believe were either unavoidable or properly 
conducted; and in Bengal the Regulating Act itself had 

li. The Amendug Act of .1781 removed a few of the most glaring 
of tl.ese defects and difficulties but a really satisf ctory system was 
not established till after 1833. 


created grave problems and difficulties. After the peace 
of Paris was signed and a strong administration came into 
office, the subject of a better regulation of the a flairs of 
the Company could no longer be postponed. Fox's bill, 
however, had the unpardonable defect of going too far. 
It proposed to set aside the Company, its directors and its 
proprietors altogether, and hand over all their powers 
for four years to two new bodies, one of seven men and 
the other of nine, named in the Act, none of the first 
removable except by the Crown on an address from either 
house of parliament, none of the second removable except 
in the same way or by the concurrence of five out of the 
first body. Such a measure naturally excited intense 
opposition. It was iniquitous both as a wholesale con- 
fiscation of the Company's chartered rights, and as a 
shameless manoeuvre on the part of the ministry to pro- 
long their own lease of power by grasping and controlling 
for their own ends in that lax and corrupt age, the entire 
wealth and influence of the Company. Both the objec- 
tions were doubtless considerably exaggerated in the 
heated debates which followed, but they were sound in 
the main, and it was the second that appealed particularly 
to people at large. If corrupt influence wielded by the 
Crown for defending and strengthening its prerogatives 
was a danger to be guarded against and attacked by all 
constitutional means, how much more dangerous and how 
utterly indefensible would be an influence, far greater 
than George III ever had, in the hands of a knot of politi- 
cians, whose past record was there to show how corrupt 
and unscrupulous they themselves were ! But public opi- 
nion in those days was slow to move, and parliament, too, 
did not respond to it easily. The Commons passed the 
measure by majorities of two to one. In the Lords, 
however, the King used his personal inlluence for all it 
was worth, and obtained 95 votes against 76 to put an end 
both to the bill, which he so feared, and to its authors, the 
Coalition Ministry, whom he so hated. After months of 
stormv debates, memorable chiefly for the mistakes of 


of conceited veterans on the one hand and the con- 
summate skill of young Pitt on the other to profit by them 
to the full, parliament was dissolved, and at the new 
elections the country gave him an overwhelming majority. 

This episode is of more than historical interest. It 
illustrates for all time, and in a dramatic fashion, how 
fundamentally the logic of what may be called practical 
politics differs from the abstract logic of the Schools. 
The scholar in his library might not have thought much of 
the objections urged against Fox's Bill. The question is 
further complicated by the fact that no measure of this 
magnitude can spring from only one set of motives as its 
sole inspiration. ' But it encountered passionate opposi- 
tion from several quarters. The East India Company and 
the other chartered companies cried out that their sacred 
property rights were being assailed. The King and the 
Tories denounced it as a characteristically Whig fraud to 
claim the highest patriotism and philanthropy as if these 
noble virtues were their exclusive property, and to help 
themselves the while to money, patronage and power to the 
exclusion of the other rightful partners under the constitu- 
tion. And both Fox and North had created many person- 
al enemies 2 by their careers, while their unexpected and 

1. Fox wrote, — " If I had considered nothing but keeping my 
power, it was the safest way to leave things as they were, or to propose 
some trifling alteration, and I am not at all ignorant of the political 
danger which I run by this bold measure; but whether I succeed or no, 
I shall always be glad that I attempted, because I know I have done no 
more than I was bound to do, in risking my power and that of ray friends 
when the happiness of so many millions " — i. e. Indians — "is at stats." 
Quoted in Lecky, oh. 15. See also for the whole episode Hunt pp 244-254. 

2. English politics in the Georgian age was still to a very great 
extent a matter of personal ties. Personal loyalty was the one nnivars 
ally and instinctively recognised bond of political co-operation; disloyal 
ty, infidelity, ingratitude, the grossest of political sins. That Fox and 
North should join together to seize power was an offence that stank in 
the nostrils of their contemporaries. This worst and most infamous 
' deal ' in an age of deals proved the last, just because it so shocked the 
conscience of the time. Young Pitt in routing this old gang :»lso 
annexed to himself the entire credit of being the creator of a purer type 
of politician, the generator of a higher level of public duty. And this is 
how contemporary political reputations are made or are blasted, more 
or less in every age and clime: — a lesson, this too, which the young 
student ambitious to cultivate independence of judgment ought to learn 
from such classical examples at a pretty early stage in the course of 
his own career 


unscrupulous coalition only added to their numbers and 
their virulence. The Bill failed not because of its inherent 
merits or defects, nor because the motives of its authors 
were altogether base, but because of a combination of all 
these hostile elements. And its failure entailed a furthe r 
consequence, no less inevitable. In practical politics 
urgent matters cannot wait until a solution perfect from 
every point of view and universally acceptable is ripened 
The East India Company were saved from Fox's bill^bu 1 
only to find that they had to proclaim their willing accept- 
ance 3 of whatever regulations the enemy of their enemy 
chose to impose upon them. Thus the question how far 
the State was justified in interfering with the Company in 
the exercise of their power over territories they had won 
was decided not by logic, or the philosophy of jurispru- 
dence, or by the forced interpretation of vague, hoary 
and inapplicable texts, customs or precedents,— but by 
the Company themselves surrendering at discretion. The 
State, on][the other hand, willingly waived for the moment 
all interference in their trade or in the appointment of 
their servants, and showed a truer appreciation of their 
financial position than hitherto by dropping all reference 
to a tribute. This is the more remarkable as the claim of 
England to the Company's territories is now for the first 
time unequivocally asserted. They are called " the 
British possessions in India " in the title of the Act, and 
" the territorial possessions of this Kingdom in the East 
Indies " in the preamble, and the same style is adhered to 
throughout. On account of the acute and prolonged 
differences between Hastings and his Council the number 

3. "And though on a former occasion he had been derided, when he 
comforted himself with the idea that in every departure he should pro- 
pose from the charter, he should have the consent and concurrence of 
the Company, he still continued to find gVeat consolation in the reflec- 
tion that he did no violence to the Company; for no violence could be 
•aid to be done by regulations, to every one of which the Company most 
cheerfully consented. '-—Pitt's speech. See Auber II pp 1-9 for an 
interesting summary of the first draft of bis Bill, with the remarks ol 
the Direoton upon it. 


of the Governor General's council is reduced by one. 
Madras and Bombay arc also given the same form of 
Government by a Governor and Council. The attempt to 
appoint councillors direct from England is given up. All 
appointments except those of Governors-General, Gover- 
nors and Commanders-in-Chief arc to be made from the 
Company's servants, and all, including these highest also, 
are to be made by the Company. The King only reserves 
under the Act, a concurrent power of recalling or remov- 
ing any servant of the Company or of declaring any 
appointment void or any office or place vacant. The 
demanding or receiving by a servant of the Company ( or 
by a servant of the King in India ) of any gift or present, 
whether for his own use or for the use of the Company or 
of any other person, 4 is declared to be extortion and is to 
be proceeded against and punished as such. The power 
of the Governor General and Council to " superintend, 
control and direct " the other presidencies, and the duty 
of the other presidencies to obey the orders from Fort 
William are defined more clearly. In particular, no 
Governor is to make war or peace or negotiate any treaty 
without express orders from England or from Calcutta — 
except in cases of sudden emergency or imminent danger, 
when it would imperil safety to postpone action ; and every 
treaty entered into by him is " to contain a clause for sub- 
jecting the same to the ratification or rejection of the 
Governor General and Council." And this supreme or- 
gan of government in India is also to exercise similar 
self-control; in these matters of high policy, unless forced 
$o act on his own responsibility by sudden emer- 
gency or imminent danger, he is to do nothing without 
express orders from England; for, says the Act, " to 
pursue schemes of conquest and extension of dominion in 
India, are measures repugnant to the wish, the honour 
and policy of the nation." 

4. Hastings received presents " for the use of the Company, " Clive 
jn his second administration, " for the use of other persons. " 


All these changes are well-judged improvements in 
details. Pitt's cardinal innovation is a revolution in the 
character and constitution of the supreme authority in 
England. He kept unaltered with scrupulous care the 
outward form and appearance of this authority. All 
orders and despatches issued as before from and in the 
name of the Directors. But in matters relating to the 
revenues, the civil and military administration, and the 
foreign and diplomatic relations of the Company with 
Indian States, Pitt's Act handed over the supreme autho- 
rity to a new body which came to be known as the Board 
of Control. It was an annexe of the Ministry, changing 
in personnel as the ministry changed, and was to consist 
of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Secretary of State 
and four privy councillors. The Secretary of State, or 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the senior of the 
other < Commissioners for the affairs of India, ' with two 
of the others were to exercise the entire powers of the 
Board. By earlier enactments the Directors had already 
to communicate to the ministers both all the corres- 
pondence and proceedings bearing on the above topics 
which they received from India, and the orders, instruc- 
tions and despatches which they themselves sent out to 
India 6 . These were now to be communicated to this 
new Board. And if the Board wanted alterations made 
in the orders or communications to India, which the Court 
did not approve of, they were to take the grounds of 
objection into consideration, but finally the decision of 
the Board was to prevail. The Board could also of their 

5. Subsequently modified to-any two of the principal Secretaries 
of State, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and two Privy Councillors. 
The ' Commissioner named first in the letters patent ' was the senior 
'Commissioner' and he as president practically wielded the whole 
power of the Board. And by the Charter Act of 1793 instead of two privy 
councillors, aDy two persons could be appointed upon the Board. 
Salaries were also granted: to the three Commissioners 5000 1. a year 
to their office establishment, 11000 I. 

6. This latter obligation was imposed upon the Directors by the 
Charter Act of 1781. 



own initiative frame any communications which the 
Directors were to forward as their own. And finally 
there was to be a secret committee of three Directors, and 
all matters of high policy, such as war and peace and the 
relations with Indian States, were to be similarly dealt 
with by the Board and this secret committee only; all 
secret communications from India were to go before these 
only, and the other Directors were not even to know 
anything about it. 

The Board of Control was very lucky in the moment 
of its inauguration. If weak ministries with a short 
lease of power had continued in England at this juncture, 
the policy of the Board would also have shown weakness 
and vacillation. It so happened, however, that Pitt 
turned out to be one of the strongest prime ministers 
known to English history, remaining in power for an un- 
usually long period. The Board of Control had thus every 
thing in its favour and began to exercise its full powers 
from the first. Chesney's view, therefore, does not appear 
to be sound that the Act made only a " nominal" change, 
and that "the amount of power which the Court of 
Directors continued to exercise was sufficient to justify 
in great measure the popular opinion, which always 
continued to identify them with the Home Government 
of India." 7 Mill's view is clearly the more correct, that 
of " bodies, when one has the right of unlimited com- 
mand, and the other is constrained to unlimited obedience, 
the latter has no power whatsoever, but just as much, 
or as little, as the former is pleased to allow." 8 Moreover, 
it was no part of the business of the Board to interfere 
in the details of the administration, and it was an essen- 
tial element in Pitt's scheme that the position and prestige 
of the Court of Directors should continue just the same 
as before to all outward appearance. 

7. Indian Polity, pp. 42-3. 

8. BookV. ch. 9 


One word more. The rapid extension of the Company's 
territories in India after 1 784, and the ease with which it 
sprang into the position of the paramount power, were no 
doubt due to some extent to the personal character of 
governors-general like Wellesley 9 , and to the subordinates 
whom such governors-general trained up in their own 
ideas and left behincLj And the chaotic condition of India 
after the downfall of the Mogul Empire is without doubt 
the principal explanation of all that subsequently happen- 
ed. Still, in so far as suitable political machinery for 
direction and control has influence over the course of 
events, Pitt deserves no little credit for evolving the 
Board of Control out of the seed originally planted by the 
Regulating Act. The rhetorical descriptions of Macaulay 
and other historians asking us to observe with wonder the 
extraordinary spectacle of a merely trading company 
winning an empire more extensive than any known to 
history and with sucli marvellous speed, do not take 
sufficient account of the secrecy, the unity and the effici- 
ency of this small central supreme body that Pitt created 
for the guidance and control of the East India Company, 

Mukharji I pp 28-58, the text, and extracts from Pitt's speech at 
the first reading, 

Iibert pp. 59-66. 

Lecky in ch 15 Coalition Ministry. 

§ ii To the end of the Century. For a real improve- 
ment in the Company's administration of India, statesmen 
and soldiers and a better qualified class of public servants 
drawn from a higher social stratum and animated by 
higher aims were at least as essential as improvements in 

9. Wellesly, too, would have been stopped and recalled some- 
where in the middle of his career if he had been in fact, as in outward 
form, merely a servant of the Directors. But the Court was not sure 
that the Board would permit hi«s recall, and it was the support of the 
latter ^which maintained him against the growing opposition of the 


the constitutional and administrative machinery. English 
public men who had been looking more or less closely into 
the matter in connection with parliamentary debates and 
select and secret committees recognised this need also, 
and England soon began to send out some of her best sons 
to India in various capacities. Thus began a long roll of 
worthy empire builders, administrators, missionaries, 
scholars, lawyers, educationalists, industrialists, engineers 
and medical men, who in various positions and separated 
from one another in far distant stations, willingly devoted 
themselves to years of patient toil and high endeavour in 
our tropical country, and to whom we owe not a little of 
the astonishing transformation that has been brought 
about in the short space of less than a hundred and fifty 
years in this vast and ancient land of deep-seated wounds 
difficult to probe, and elemental agonies hard to heal. 
One of the first of this new type to be chosen for Eng- 
land's civilising mission in India was Lord Cornwallis. 
It was Henry Dundas who remarked in naming him to 
parliament " as the fittest person in the world for the 
Government of India:— ' Here there was no broken for- 
tune to be mended I Here was no avarice to be gratified! 
Here was no beggarly mushroom kindred to be provided 
for ! No crew of hungry followers gaping to be gorged 1 !" 
This was in 1783. Three years later the offer was actu- 
ally made and Cornwallis asked for power to act on his 
judgment even though the whole of his Council were of a 
different opinion. 2 And this discretionary power was 
conceded to him for special cases by an amending Act* 
This autoctratic power was afterwards given to all 
Governors-General and Governors by the Charter Act of 

1. Mill. V ch. 9. 

2. In a Council of 4, one of tkem the Governor General having 
also the casting vote, with one Councillor support i rig him the Governor 
General with his two votes has a majority of votes on his side. Thus 
*he need for the exceptional power mentioned above arises only when 
ail three Councillors differ from hira. 


1793 and limited by that enactment in two ways: it was 
available only for such exceptional " cases of high impor- 
tance as essentially aifected the public interest and wel- 
fare, " and under it the head of the Presidency could only 
take such action as was within the legal powers of his 

The last Charter Act ( 1781 ) had extended the term 
of the Company's privileges to three years ' notice after 
March 1, 1791. As these privileges really meant nothing 
more after Pitt's Act than the Company's trade mono- 
poly, there was little opposition to the Charter Act of 
1793 mentioned above, which continued them for another 
term of twenty years. The constitutional administrative 
and financial provisions of the Act merely consolidated 
the existing law and practice with a few minor alterations 
such as the one specified above. Finally, an Act of 1797 
reduced from three to two the number of puisne judges of 
the Supreme Court at Calcutta. 

Mukharji. I pp 58-78, the text of tha Charter Act of 1793. 




§ 12 The Charter Act of iSij. The first thorough 
investigation by the legislature into the position and affairs 
of the East India Company appears to have been the one 
held under the Commonwealth Government. The in- 
quiries preceding the Act of Union, the Regulating Act 
and Fox's Bill have also been mentioned. These took the 
form of select and secret committees of parliament which 
published voluminous reports full of carefully tested and 
valuable information. The impeachment of Hastings-lOth 


May 1 787 to 23 rd April 1 795— added to this pile. | Welles- 
ley's extensive conquests won by armies operating simul- 
taneously in several theatres of war raised the Company 
at one bound into the lofty position of the paramount 
power in India, but at the same time accumulated a debt 
almost too heavy to bear, and the Campany had again to 
approach parliament for relief. A committee was there- 
upon appointed which again made a searching investiga- 
tion into the Company's affairs, laboured at its task for five 
years, and submitted several reports. As the end of the 
term for which the last Charter had been granted approach- 
ed, parliament also received many petitions from the 
merchants and manufacturers of a number of towns and 
ports praying for the abolition of the Company's monopoly 

of trade. On the one hand, the growing manufactures of Eng- 
land were in need of new markets. On the other hand, Napo- 
leon's Berlin decrees closing European ports to English trade 
and shipping, compelled these powerful interests to seek 
other outlets, and India and the East Indies were a field, 
which-now that the sea-routes were rendered perfectly 
safe by the recent capture of the Cape of Good Hope, 
Macao and Goa, the Isles of France and Bourbon, Java 
and the Spice Islands, — the monopoly of the East India 
Company alone prevented them from turning to their own 
profit; a field, too, which the general ignorance of the time 
enabled them to paint in the brightest hues of hope, as 
certain to yield untold wealth the moment it was thrown 
open to their enterprise. 2 The doctrine of free trade, as 

1. But this addition included, as was natural under the circum- 
stances, "an immense quantity of rubbish and trash" ( Thurlow, quoted 
in Rulers of India : Hastings, p. 209 ). 

2. For instance, take this passage from the petition of Sheffield, 
abridged. " If the trade to the East Indies were thrown open, such 
new and abundant markets would be discovered and established as 
would enable them to defy every effort to injure them by that sworn 
enemy to prosperity and the peace of Europe, the present unprincipled 
ruler of France. If the trade of this United Kingdom were permitted 
to flow unimpeded over those extensive, luxuriant and opulent regions 
to the wealthy, enterprising, honourable, and indefatigable British 
merchant no obstacle would prove insurmountable, no prejudice invin- 
cible, no difficulty disheartening; wants, where he found them, he would 
supply; where they did not exist he would create them, by affording the 
means of gratification.- Thornton, IV 216. 


presented by Adam Smith, was growing in popularity, and 
these petitioners as well as an increasing number in both 
houses of Parliament assailed the Company's privileges as 
injurious to the country and indefensible in principle if 
not altogether unnatural. In the course of the debate 
one of the leaders of the opposition did not fail to expose 
the hollowness of this plea. 

" Their general principle was ( he said ) that England 
was to force all her manufactures upon Indian and not to 
take a single Indian manufacture in return. It was true, 
they would allow cotton to be brought ; but they having 
found out that they could weave by means of machinery 
cheaper than the people of India, they would say, * Leave 
off weaving ; supply us with the raw material, and we will 
weave for you.' And these merchants and manufacturers 
called themselves the friends of India 1 If they professed 
themselves as enemies instead, what more could they do 
than advise the destruction of all Indian manufactures? 8 

But the ministers had a large majority and they were, 
quite willing to take the popular line in this matter, only 
providing such precautionary safeguards as the evidence 
of their experienced administrators, a number of whom 
were examined, showed to be indispensable. Lastly, men 
like Wilberforce in the House of Commons seriously and 
conscientiously thought that they would be guilty of a 
neglect of duty, unless they made an attempt to bring the 
benefits of education, civilisation and Christianity within 
the reach of the Indian population, whom they sincerely 
pitied as savages given over to dark heathen rites 
and practices. These various influences were reflected in 
the famous thirteen resolutions which Parliament adopted 
preliminary to legislation; and the principles so laid 
down were embodied in the Charter Act of 1813. 

3. Thornton, IV 241-2. Again in 1833 Sir Charles Forbes said in 
Parliament:—" As to trade with India, that was to be increased only by 
that House, Let ministers begin by reducing the duties upon the 
commodities of India. A small duty was imposed upon English 
manufactures; and a heavy one upon Indian commodities. "Was 
that reciprocity ? Was that free trade ? Id. V 253. 


The necessary ielief to the Company's finances was 
provided by arrangements for a reduction of the debt, and 
by restraints in respect of dividends, salaries and pensions 
as also of the number of His Majesty's regiments to be 
employed in India. 

The Company had tried to show that the expenses of 
administration were greater than their revenues, and 
that their only source of profit was the trade monopoly. 
Their accounts, however, were so confused that it was 
impossible to discover from them what profits were made* 
except from the trade in tea and the trade with China. 
And, moreover, these two elements in the Company's 
monopoly were discovered to stand on an exceptional 
footing altogether. Tea had become a necessary of life in 
Great Britain, the duties upon it yielded to the State a re- 
gular annual income of four millions sterling, and it was 
not at all desirable to attempt changes in the standing 
regulations about the trade of such an article, when England 
was straining every nerve in her desperate struggle 
against a mighty foe. The China trade, again, was still 
in such a condition that it could only be carried on profit- 
ably under a system of monopoly. China hated foreign- 
ers, allowed only a certain number of her subjects incor- 
porated into a single body called the Hong to trade with 
them, and that too only at a single port, Canton. Besides 
as if not satisfied with these restrictions, the Chinese 
Government often placed an embargo for indefinite 
periods upon all shipments whatever. It required all the 
experience, tact and influence of the Company's factory 
at Canton to keep the trade open. 4 Free trade in these 
two matters was thus out of the question, and this Charter 
continued the Company's monopoly to that extent, but to 
that extent only. The trade with India was thrown open, 
but as it was strongly urged even about this that grave 
dangers and difficulties might result if Englishmen were 

4. Wilson. 


allowed to flock to India and visit any part altogether un- 
restrained, it was provided that Englishmen wishing to 
avail themselves of this freedom were to obtain a license 
from the Company. s 

Pitt's Act had reserved to the Crown the power of 
recalling any servant of the Company. This was first 
exercised when Lord Grenville's ministry recalled Sir 
George Barlow in 1806. And it has been stated above 
that amongst the leaders in parliament and in the country 
there was a section who seriously held that over and above 
amendments in the constitution of the Company, it was no 
less vital to go on improving the entire class of servants 
in every grade who were sent out to India in increasing 
numbers as required by their annexations and the growth 
of their administrative system. In the course of the 
debate on the resolutions Lord Grenville, for instance, 
urged that all the civil and military appointments under 
the Company should be thrown open to competition, so 
that men educated in the public schools, sons of deceased 
officers, and other candidates from similar classes of society 
could be selected by merit. 6 Earlier still, Wellesley had 
attempted to introduce a similar improvement but in quite 
a different way, by starting a College at Calcutta where 
the young men sent out by; the Directors could improve 
their education and acquire a proper training before being 
appointed to any responsible post. His scheme was too 
ambitious, 7 but it led eventually to small and practical 
institutions or other arrangements at Calcutta, Madras, and 
Bombay to enable young civil servants entering upon 
their careers to acquire a knowledge of oriental languages. 
And in England the Haileybury College was started in 
1805 and the Addiscombe Military Seminary in 1809. The 

5. During the next eighteen years no more than 1324 licenses were 
granted ( Roberts, p. 278 ). 

6. Thornton, IV 233. 

r. Owen pp, xxiyi-xxAVii and 718-755. 


Charter Act of 1813 provided that all such institutions were 
to be under the Board of Control and that no one was to 
be appointed a writer who had not studied for four terms 
at the Haileybury College to the satisfaction of the College 
authorities 8 . And the patronage of the Directors was also 
curtailed at the upper end : Governors-General, Governors, 
and Commanders-in-Chief were to be appointed by the 
Court, "subject to the approbation of His Majesty, to be 
signified in writing under his Royal sign-manual, counter- 
signed by the President of the Board" of Control. 

Even more serious was the departure involved in the 
creation of a church establishment of which the expenses 
were to be paid out of the Company's revenues, and in 
the permission granted to " persons going to and remain- 
ing in India to introduce amongst the natives useful 
knowledge and religious and moral improvement." This 
was the starting point in India of Christian missionary 
enterprise as licensed by the State, with its twin fruits of 
western education and Christian propaganda. The 
sections dealing with this subject emphatically affirm that 
the Company's policy of 'perfect freedom to the natives in 
the exercise of their religion be inviolably maintained.' 
Moreover, an annual grant of one lac of rupees was to be 
" applied to the revival and improvement of literature 
and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, 
and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of 
the sciences." 

With these radical changes and innovations the Com- 
pany was continued in the possession of its territories re- 
venues and powers for another twenty years, 

Wilson, (continuation of Mill ), Bk. I oh. 8, and Appendix X which 
gives the 13 resolutions. 

Ilbert, pp. 71-79. 

8. Auber, Analysis, pp. 165-1? 1. 


| 13 The Charter Act, 1833. Although the Act of 
1793 consolidated all preceding legislation, the feeling 
was still there and persisted in some minds at least even 
upto 1813, 1 that the measures England was adopting on 
the subject of India were all more or less tentative and 
temporary experiments. By 1833, however, all such 
lingering doubts had completely disappeared, and the 
leading statesmen, Whig as well as Tory, were pre- 
pared to fashion out of the existing arrangements a suit- 
able instrument for the Government of the people of 
India in their own interests. The Company were also 
quite willing to fall in with the ideas of Parliament in this 
respect, but pointed out in the defence of their property, 
rights and privileges that their territorial revenues had 
generally proved insufficient, and they had been obliged 
to make good the deficit out of their commercial profits, 
which had all been devoted, beyond a regular dividend on 
their capital to the general purposes of the administra- 
tion. 2 The difficulties of the China trade, they also 
pointed out, continued just the same as they had been in 
1813. But English public opinion in favour of free trade 
had grown so strong during the interval that these argu- 
ments had no effect. 3 The Company's plea that the 
administration of India could not be carried on without a 
contribution from outside, either in the form of their com- 

1. E. g. Lord Grenville — see summary of his speech, Thcfrittbil, TV 

2. Lord Ellenborough thought that this had amounted to as large 
a sura, on an average, as the sum disbursed as dividends; i. e. £ 630,000 
per year for 16 years. Another estimate, that of a professional accoun- 
tant, put it higher by about £ 100,000. Thornton, V 257, 282-5: and 

Wilson III 483. 

3. Thus one consequence of the Charter Act, 1833, was: — the Com- 
pany's factory at Canton was replaced by an English Superintendent, 
English traders sold opium in ever increasing quantities to China, the 
Chinese laws prohibiting the import of opium were strengthened, and 
there followed the Opium War, which resulted in England acquiring 
Hong Kong, and China being forced to throw open five ports to foreign 


mcrcial profits or in some other form, was brushed aside. 
A territory, so extensive and so richly endowed, it was 
universally felt, ought to be able, by suitablejeconomy 
and managment, to yield it revenue sufficient for its own 
needs. 4 The Company were thus driven to limit their 
demands to an adequate guarantee for their own capital 
and interest. And this was granted. It was provided 
that a dividend at ten and a half per cent, was to be a 
first charge on the revenues of India, and that whenever, 
at some future date, it was decided to extinguish the 
Company as a corporate body, a sum of £ 12,000,000 5 
was to be paid to the proprietors. 

From the date of the first administration of Lord 
Cornwallis the Company had made fair progress in the 
performance of their duties towards the people of India as 
their rulers. Mistakes had been made, there were still 
defects some of them grave, — the police were indescribably 
corrupt and oppressive, the decisions of the law courts de- 
pended mostly upon the vagaries and idiosyncracies of the 
individual judge, — but the country had settled down, 
agriculture was spreading, population was increasing, trade 
was reviving, beneficial public works were being under- 
taken, efforts were being organised for the extirpation of 
evils like thaggi ( 1830 ), and signs of a new renascence 
being near at hand — signs like the Hindu College ( 1816 ) 
and the Samachar Darpan ( 1821 ) were coming to light. 
Lord William Bentinck's record as a Governor General 
from 1828 was at this juncture of incalculable benefit to 
the reputation of the Company. Peel remarked that "their 
administration redounded greatly to their honour, and 
contrasted favourably with that of any other colonial esta- 
blishment that had ever existed. " 6 Macaulay contrasted 

4. Auber II 684, 

5. The Company's capital was £ 6 millions; but they] had been pay- 
ing 10^ % dividends for many years; so this rate was continued; and 
the price for buying the Company off was fixed in view of the high 
market value of the Company's stock. 

6. Thornton V 258, 


"the doubtful splendour which surrounded the memory of 
Hastings and of Clive, with the spotless glory of Elphin- 
stone and Munrp." He admitted that "if the question were 
what was the best mode of securing good government in 
Europe, the merest smatterer in politics would answer, 
representative institutions.'' But he reminded parliament 
that even an extreme advocate of that form of polity like 
James Mill, who was besides a thoroughly competent 
witness in Indian matters, "when asked before the com- 
mittee whether he thought representative government 
practicable in India," was obliged to reply that it was 
"utterly out of the question." It followed that to dis- 
possess the Company would be to leave all the powers and 
patronage of a despotic government over a territory more 
extensive than Western Europe with a population of ten 
crores, a standing army of two lacs and an annual revenue 
of £ 22,000,000, in the hands of the Board of Control or 
some other Board of Commissioners, who would be the 
creatures of the ministers of England. It was perfectly 
true that the ministers were responsible to parliament. 
But " a broken head in Cold Bath Fields produced a greater 

sensation among us than three pitched battles in India 

•Even when my right honourable friend the President of 
the Board of Control gave his able and interesting explana- 
tion of the plan which he intended to propose for the 
government of a hundred million of human beings, the 
attendance was not so large as I have often seen it on a 
turnpike bill or a railroad bill." A check was required 
upon the authority of the Crown over India, and parlia- 
ment "could not be that efficient check.... What we wanted 
was a body independent of the Government, and no more 
than independent ; not a tool of the Treasury, not a tool 
of the opposition. No new plan which had been proposed 
would give us such a body. The Company, strange as its 
constitution might be, was such a body. It was as a cor- 
poration neither Whig nor Tory, neither high-church nor 
low-church." Even when the country had passed through 
a period of unprecedented and stormy agitation, the Com- 


pany had held on its course unruffled, acting "with a 
view not to English politics but to Indian politics, and 
preserving strict and unexpected neutrality. " 7 

The Board, the Court, and the Governor General 
were thus continued for a fresh term of twenty years as 
the supreme Government for India. The last was now to 
be styled the Governor General of India and he was given 
full power and authority to superintend direct and 
control the presidency Governments in all points relating 
to the civil and military administration. The presidencies 
were to transmit regularly to Calcutta copies of all their 
orders and proceedings and communicate timely intelli- 
gence of all transactions of any importance. Thus even as 
to the matters which the Governor General left to the local 
Governments, the latter were always to furnish him with 
evidence sufficient for him to judge about their conduct, 
and to check and correct them promptly whenever neces- 
sary. The local Governments were to continue to corre- 
spond with the Court of Directors as before, but the 
supreme Government was to receive copies of these letters 
also and to forward its own remarks upon them to the 
Court. Questions of peace and war were to be decided 
upon by the supreme Government alone ; and even the 
diplomatic relations with the native States and the conduct 
of particular negotiations were to be concentrated in the 
hands of the Governor General as far as possible. 8 

The relations between the Governor General and his 
Council were more clearly defined. The power of the 
Governor General to act at his discretion against the view 
of the majority of his Council was continued, but it was 

7. Macaulay, Misc. Writings and Speeches ( Popular Ed. ), 

8. This could only have been carried out fully if the Bombay, 
Madras and Bengal armies had all been amalgamated into one ; but that 
reform was not thought of till long after the Mutiny ; it was not practi- 
cable either, until the main trunk lines of the Indian Railway System 
had been built, 


enacted that he was to exercise it only when he thought 
that the safety tranquillity or interests of the British posses- 
sions in India were essentially affected, and in every such 
case both the Governor General and the members of 
Council were directed to exchange in writing, under their 
respective hands, to be recorded at large on their secret 
consultations, the grounds and reasons of their respective 
opinions. The court of Directors pointed out, however, in 
their covering despatch that the exercise of this ultimate 
power was to be resorted to in extreme cases only, and as 
the only refuge from the possible evil of distracted counsels 
and infirm resolutions. For dealing with the ordinary 
business of the Governor General in Council the presence, 
besides the Governor General, of more than one member 
of Council was not required, and both for such ordinary 
business and for the legislative business to be mentioned 
presently, the Court were to frame rules of procedure 
which were to be approved by the Board of Control, and 
then to be laid before both houses of parliament, and 
such rules of procedure were to have the same force as if 
they had been enacted by parliament. 

As the Court of Directors ceased, under the Act, to 
have^any further commercial business to transact, the 
Board of Control were given full power and authority to 
control and direct all their acts : the entire property of the 
Company was also to be treated as held in trust for the 
Government of India. The patronage or right of appoint- 
ment to various offices which under previous enactments 
the Court of Directors had possessed independently of the 
Board, was continued to them unabated, but they were, 
with the approval of the Board, free to delegate it to the 
Governments in India and through them to heads of depart- 
ments, commanding officers, and similar responsible 
persons. J Lord Cornwallis had excluded Indians from 
employment under the Company as far as possible, except 
in the meanest posts. And he had done so for two reasons. 
In the first place he wanted to raise the level of the 


services in integrity, capacity, and sense of public duty. 
And in the second place he wanted the young Englishmen 
he appointed really to learn their work and to do it them- 
selves; for Warren Hastings's experiment of duplicate 
appointments, an experienced Indian without any power 
along with an ignorant Englishman with all the power attach- 
ed to the post, although intended to achieve the same result, 
had in many cases failed altogether : the indolent English- 
man had remained ignorant, and the unscrupulous Indian 
had felt perfectly safe under his powerful protection, and 
had fleeced and oppressed the people all the more. Nay, 
there was worse than indolence to be guarded against ; in 
spite of the covenants, and although the emoluments of the 
service had been considerably increased, Lord Cornwallis 
on reaching India must have found many of the civilians 
using their Indian colleagues and subordinates as "tools 
and ready made instruments of extortion" 9 for the purpose 
of filling their own pockets. How could it be otherwise, 
indeed, when Clive and Hastings had themselves behaved 
in ways not very dissimilar, and when many prominent 
Directors and proprietors were themselves more or less 
directly interested in the gains piled up by hook or by 
crook by their nominees in India ? 

Lord Cornwallis cut the pestilential weed of a corrupt 
tradition and cleared the ground. Wellesley and his circle 
sowed the seeds of worthy aims, high ambitions and noble 
ideals. The parasitic filaments of jobbery extending 
across the seas from Leadenhall Street, Cannon Row, 
Windsor Castle, and Westminster shrivelled up at the 
source. Decades passed, decades crowded with the 
careers of exemplary civilians. And by 1828 a pure and 
high-minded civil service had become an established 
institution in the Government of India. It was, however, 
an extremely costly institution. 10 . And a progressive 

9, Kaye, p. 420; see also Roberts, 222-227 ; Cornwallis 74-84 ; etc. 

10. "Even after the change [ Berttinck's retrenchments ], the *ver- 
income of a civilian ranging from member of Council to writer ( blie 

lowest grade ), was still as high as & 2000 a year, Roberts, p. 302. 


administration necessarily means a more or less continuous 
increase in the number of posts. Bentinck, therefore, 
decided to give up Cornwallis' policy of exclusion as no 
longer necessary or practicable, and began to appoint 
qualified Indians to grades higher than had been hitherto 
open to them. On this departure from past practice the 
Charter Act set the seal of its approval by the well-known 
clause — 

"No native of the said territories, nor any natural 
born subject of His Majesty resident therein, shall, by 
reason only of his religion, place of birth, descent, colour, 
or any of them, be disabled from holding any place, office , 
or employment under the Company." 

In their covering despatch the Directors lay as much 
stress upon the employment by the Government of 
"natural born subjects of His Majesty resident in" India, 
as upon that of Indians. The trade monopoly and the 
prohibition against Englishmen about going to India without 
a license 11 or about acquiring landed property being at an 
end, it was anticipated that they would go to India and 
settle there in increasing numbers, and that amongst 
them Government might find persons seeking Government 
posts who might be better qualified than the Indian can- 
didates. Hence arose, the despatch observed, "a powerful 
argument for the promotion of every design tending to the 
improvement of the natives, whether by conferring on them 
the advantages of education, or by diffusing among them 
the treasures of science, knowledge, and moral culture." 
And the despatch said, in more general terms, " that the 
object of this important enactment is not to ascertain 
qualification, but to remove disqualification. Its meaning 
we take to be that there shall be no governing caste in 

11. For proceeding into the more recently acquired and less settled 
parts of British India, the foreigner still needed a license from the Gov- 
ernment, of India, but such parts were also to be thrown open from 
time to time. 



British India. Fitness, wholly irrespective of the distinc- 
tion of races, is henceforth to be the criterion of eligibility. 
To this altered rule it will be necessary that you should, 
both in your acts and your language, conform ; practically, 
perhaps, no very marked difference of results will- be 

Another step forward in the civilising mission of Eng- 
land in India was taken by this Act in the duty it laid 
upon the Governor General in Council to legislate for the 
purpose of ameliorating the condition of slaves and o k 
abolishing the status of slavery throughout British India as 
soon as possible, but by such practical measures as offered 
no undue violence to the customs and sentiments of the 
people. The Indian Slavery Act (Act V of 1843) and 
later measures were the result of this injunction. 

The presidency of Bengal had become too large for 
efficient administration from one centre. It was also 
obvious that the Governor General of India and his Council 
had to be relieved of the direct responsibility for any one 
presidency if they were properly to discharge their duties 
towards British India as a whole. The Act provided for 
the appointment of a Deputy Governor for Bengal and for 
the creation of a new presidency of Agra, under a Governor 
or a Governor in Council. But these provisions were not 
acted upon and the matter was dealt with again by sub- 
sequent legislation. 

Lastly, the Board of Control and the Ministry were 
fully alive to the highly unsatisfactory if not chaotic con- 
dition of the law and the law-courts in the Company's 
territories. First, there were several distinct bodies of 
statute law in force. The Charter of George I had applied 
to British India the whole body of English statute law; all 
subsequent Acts of Parliament also applied in so far as 
expressly extended to any part of India. l2 The Governor 

12. There was room for difference of opinion here, sometimes in- 
volving grave issues. For instance, was the Supreme Court justified in 
applying the English statute on forgery ( 1728 ) in Nandkumar's caseV 
Bee Ilbert pp 32=3, and 353. 


General in Council had been issuing a set of Regulations 
from 1793 which were applicable to Bengal, and the other 
Presidencies had issued similar Regulations for their own 
territories, Madras from 1802, Bombay from 1827. A uni- 
form codification, preserving only such local peculiarities 
as were found necessary on careful consideration, was 
desirable. Secondly, the various law-courts and their 
jurisdictions needed reform. The zamindari and adalat 
courts mentioned above were merely a heritage of Mogul 
India, and as the country settled clown a civilised admini- 
stration was bound to provide better law, more qualified 
judges, a systematic procedure. The Supreme Court had 
taken the place of the Mayor's and the sessions courts at 
Calcutta, and similar Supreme Courts had been established 
at Madras ( 1801 ) and at Bombay ( 1824 ) for these presi- 
dencies, but what was wanted was a properly graded 
system of courts covering British India and administering 
the same laws on a uniform system. Thirdly, the Hindus, 
the Muhammadans and smaller sections of the population 
had their own laws and customs governing important 
spheres of life, and the legislature had ordered the courts 
to respect these and protect the rights of defendants in 
accordance with their own laws and customs. There were 
law books and commentaries and collections of customs l3 
and the opinions expressed by the Kazis and Pundits of 
the courts. But in spite of these and to some extent, 
perhaps, also because of these, the first generation of the 
Company's judges and law officers found it very difficult 
indeed to ascertain what precisely was the law on the 
particular point they had to decide. " The consequence 
was, " as Macaulay said, " that in practice the decisions of 
the tribunals were altogether arbitrary.... And judge-made 
law, where there was an absolute Government and lax 
morality, where there was no bar nor any effective public 
opinion, was a curse and a scandal not to be endured. " 

13. For instance. Eorrodaile's collection of the caste customs ot 
Gujrat ( 1827 ) is a rich mine of information today for the student of 
social customs. 


Better qualified lawyers and law officers and a uni- 
form procedure are a product of time. Legislative fiat 
cannot create them in a day. But a better system of law- 
making and a properly graded system of courts, their 
jurisdictions covering the entire field without clashing 
with one another at any point, could be so constructed. 
Moreover, as India was now thrown open to Europeans it 
was anticipated that Englishmen would go and settle 
there in numbers, and it was necessary to protect them 
and their rights, as also Indians from their high-handed- 
ness, u " through the medium of laws carefully made and 
promptly and impartially administered " not only at the 
presidency towns but also in the interior. 


The power of the presidencies to make Regulations was 

taken away; greater power, to legislate, was given to and 
concentrated in the hands of the Government of India. 
For this purpose the President of the Board of Control 
proposed in his original scheme a Legistative Council at 
the Government of India. This, however, was dropped, 
and the Act provided an additional member of Council 
whose function was to help the Council and vote at it 
only when it was legislating, and a Law Commission with this 
member of Council as its chairman. While the quorum 
for the Council's other business was fixed at the Governor 
General and one member, the quorum for the legislative 
business of the Council was fixed at the Governor General 
and three members. The Directors in their covering 
despatch laid stress upon the need for full inquiry, public- 
ation both in English and in the necessary vernaculars, 

14. The covering despatch says " eagerness for some temporary 
advantages, the consciousness of power, the pride of a fancied superio- 
rity of race, the absence of any adequate check from public opinion, the 
absence also of the habitual check supplied by the stated and public 
recurrence of religious observances and other causes may occasionally 
lead" to unguarded acts ; "much more may acts of outrage or insolence 
be expected from casual adventurers " and run-aways from Europe 
"released from the restraints which in this country the over-awiug 
influence of society imposes on all men not totally abandoned. " 


and due deliberation in the framing and passage of all 
legislative measures. These laws were to have the same 
force and effect as parliamentary statutes. The supreme 
power of parliament to legislate for India also was reserv- 
ed; and the Court ( acting as usual under the control of 
the Board ) were granted the power of disallowing any 
laws now to be made by the Government of India or any 
parts of them at discretion. Of course, the Government of 
India were told expressly that in the new capacity thus 
conferred upon them they were only a subordinate legisla- 
ture, and could not repeal any Act of Parliament or make 
any law going against any such Act, or touch any law- 
court established by the King, or indeed legislate at all on 
any of certain specified subjects. Still, this was the most 
important of the innovations introduced by this Charter 
Act, as not only making the right beginning towards provid- 
ing a remedy for the evils and solution of the difficulties 
indicated above, but as also sowing the seed of the Legisla- 
tive Councils of the future. 

Mukharji I 84-112, the text and the covering despatch of the 
Court of Directors. 

Ilbert pp. 81-89 and 353-362. 

Macaulay's Speech in the House of Commons on the 10th July 1833. 

Wilson Bk. Ill ch. 9. 

§ 14. To the Mutiny. An Act of 1835 gave power 
to separate the North-West Provinces from Bengal and 
place them under a Lieutenant-Governor. The Charter 
Act of 1 853 gave power for the appointment of a Lieutenant- 
Governor for Bengal itself, unless and until a Governor 
was appointed for the presidency. It also authorised the 
creation of one more presidency, either under a Governor 
in Council, or under a Lieutenant-Governor. And in 
1854 another Act enabled the Government of India to take 
any territories of the Company under their immediate 
authority and management and provide for their admini- 
stration. Under this Act Chief Commissioners were 


appointed for Oudh, Ajmer-Merwara, Assam, the Central 
Provinces, Burma, Berar, Baluchistan, Coorg and the 
Andamans; the Governor General in Council being relieved 
of the necessity for detailed supervision over the admini- 
stration of these minor or outlying provinces also. 

The Charter Act of 1853 also introduced several other 
changes, some of them of capital importance. The num- 
ber of the Directors of the Company was reduced to 
eighteen, of whom six were to be nominated by the 
Ministry. 1 The law member was made a full member of 
the Governor-General's executive council, and all-four 
Councillors, as well as the Councillors at the presidency 
Governments, were to be appointed under the Royal- 
sign manual. The Directors, supported by the Court of 
Proprietors, had themselves proposed in 1833 that the 
Haileybury College should be closed and that the neces- 
sary number of young men required for service in India 
should be selected annually by "a system of public 
examination sufficiently high to secure adequately quali- 
fied parties." 2 Their reasons were the great expense of 
the College and "the disadvantage which resulted from 
confining the associations of youth destined for foreign 
service to companions all having the like destination." 
The proposal was now adopted, and the first regulations 
for the Indian Civil Service examination were drawn up 
by a committee with Lord Macaulay as chairman in 1854. 
The Charter Act continued the existence and authority of 
the Company, not for another term of twenty years, but 
"only until Parliament shall otherwise provide." 

The President of the Board of Control had proposed 
in 1833 that each of the presidencies should send a mem- 
ber to the council of the Governor General, one or two 
specially selected lawyers should be added to the Council 

1. "This enabled the Government to appoint to the Court retired 

servants of the Company and thus to leaven the directorate with 

first hand Indian experience." — Roberts p. 383, 

2. Auber II pp. 703-4, 


from England, and that this enlarged Council should 
legislate for British India as a whole. 3 This had been 
negatived because of the extra expense and reduced to the 
addition of a single law member, while the executive 
councils at the presidencies which he had proposed to 
abolish were allowed to continue, on the ground that the 
Governors coming fresh from England needed the advice 
of administrators who had long experience of India. In 
1853, Charles Grant's original proposal was adopted with 
two improvements : the Chief Justice and another judge 
were also to be added along with a member appointed for 
the purpose by each of the four provinces, and the Gov- 
ernor-General's Council thus enlarged to twelve members 
was to be the Legislative Council for India ; no law or 
regulation made by the Council was to have force or was 
to be promulgated until it had been assented to by the 
Governor General. The power of the Court to disallow a law 
even after it had been so assented to continued unaltered. 
The Legislative Council thus developed out of the single 
law member of 1833 was a purely official body; its meetings 
were to be open to the public and its proceedings were 
to be officially published. 

Mttkharji I 122-134. 
Ubertpp. 89-94. 

§ is The end of the Company. It has been stated 
above that the constitution of the Company was, so to 
speak, standardised in 1833. By 1853, however, new 
points of view had arisen. In the debate on the Charter 
Act of that year, John Bright, for instance, quoted with 
approval the criticisms of George Campbell, and J. W. 
Kaye, ] and condemned the " double government " by 
the Board of Control and the Court of Directors as " a 

3. Wilson III pp, 528, 535. 

1. George Compbell's Modern India, A Sketch of the system of 
Civil Government was published in 185?, J. W. Kaye's Administration of 
the East India Company, in 1853. 


system of hocus-pocus, " which " deluded public opinion, 
obscured responsibility and evaded parliamentary con- 
trol. " He thought that whereas there was no chance of 
the important subject — how India had best be governed ? — 
receiving full and proper consideration in Parliament in 
1784, because of " the fight of faction, " nor in 1813 be- 
cause it was " a time when the country was involved in 
desperate hostilities with France," nor in 1833, because 
the subject came up "immediately after the hurricane which 
carried the Reform Bill "; in 1850 there was no such com- 
plication or difficulty, and Parliament could and was 
therefore bound to deal with such a grave and solemn 
matter quietly calmly and with due deliberation, making 
all necessary inquiries, even if the decision was thereby 
delayed by a year or two. 2 He spoke however to listless 
members and to empty benches. So did all others who 
had anything to do with the subject on that occasion, 
either in the Commons or in the Lords. A quiet time 
might be ideally the best for elaborating a great measure. 
But in actual practice a representative assembly rarely 
puts forth on any subject the earnest will and the driving 
power necessary to carry a great measure through, unless 
public opinion is keenly exercised upon it at that particu- 
lar moment. 

Then came the cataclysm of the Mutiny, and sudden- 
ly all was changed. It was not only the dynasty of the 
Grand Mogul that was destroyed. The prime minister of 
England informed the Court of Directors as early as the 
19th December 1857 that the East India Company was 
also to be destroyed, that a bill was to be brought before 
Parliament at an early date to take over the administra- 
tion of British India under the direct authority of the 
Crown. Legislation on the subject was actually introduc- 
ed on the 12th February 1858, and it passed through 
strange vicissitudes. An Italian conspirator had, a little 
earlier, thrown bombs in Paris at Napoleon III, who 

2. Speech in the Commons, 3rd June 1853. 


escaped unhurt, but the incident had in a few days this 
surprising result that the prime minister of England was 
driven from office, dragging his party down with himself. 
His Government of India Bill could not survive the cata- 
strophe. But, as Bright remarked, " the conscience of the 
nation had been touched on the question, and it came by 
a leap, — as it were by an irrepressible instinct-to the con- 
clusion that the East India Company must be abolished. " * 
The weak Ministry that succeeded Palmer ston had no 
alternative but to legislate on the subject and on the same 
principle. Their bill, drawn up by their President of the 
Board of Control, Lord Ellenborough, contained clauses 
which excited universal derision. No third Ministry was 
possible ; for England is not, like France, accustomed to 
ministries succeeding one another with bewildering rapid- 
ity. It is not at all an easy matter, of course, to keep a 
weak ministry in office in spite of its manifest ineptitude 
on a measure of capital importance. But where there is a 
will there is a way. It so happened that Lord Ellen- 
borough committed another blunder also; this served the 
turn. He alone resigned; the rest of the ministry remain- 
ed. They tried to strengthen themselves by offering the 
vacancy to Gladstone. 4 If he had accepted, he would 
have had his own way, and one feels morally certain that 
in arranging the transfer to the Crown he would have 
introduced some effective checks upon the autocracy of 
the supreme government of India, to safeguard the inter- 
ests of the people of India. But it was not to be. Lord 
John Russell had meanwhile come to the rescue of the 
ministry by suggesting that it would be better to begin 
afresh by first deciding all the main principles to be 
embodied in the new constitution. This course was 
adopted, resolutions were proposed and discussed, and a 

3. This was at a later date. But he said that was the only course' 
from " the moment the House of Commons met this Session, "■ — Speech 
on the 24th June 1858. 

4. Uorlffs Life I 583-591. 


third bill was placed before parliament by the new Presi- 
dent of the Board of Control, Lord Stanley, in June ; and 
this at length passed both the houses, with some impor- 
tant amendments, and received the royal assent on the 
2nd August. 

This Government of India Act, 1858, substituted for 
the Board of Control and the Court of Directors and the 
Court of Proprietors, a Secretary of State for India and a 
Council, who were to wield all the powers of those 
bodies, stand towards the Governor General and Gover- 
nors in Council in the same relation, and rule over India 
on behalf of and in trie name of the Crown. Eight 
members of the Council, which was styled the Council of 
India, were to be nominated by the Crown, seven were 
to be elected, in the first instance by the Court of Direc- 
tors, and later by the Council themselves, and the 
nominations and elections were at' all times to be so 
managed as to secure as Councillors at least nine persons 
with a ten years' period of service or residence in India 
to their credit, who, moreover, had not left India more 
than ten years before their appointment. Once appoint- 
ed they were to hold office during good behaviour, but 
were removable upon an address of both Houses of 
Parliament. They were not to sit or vote in parliament. 
The object of these provisions was to give advisers to the 
Secretary of State who would have expert knowledge and 
might be enabled to be independent of him and of party 
influences in the performance of their duties. A Council 
so numerous was thought necessary because expert know- 
ledge connected with all the presidencies and the various 
civil and military branches of the administration in India, 
as also the mercantile and other interests independent of 
the services, were to be represented upon it, and it was 
also hoped that a large Council, with a permanent per- 
sonnel changing only very gradually, would soon develop 
an esprit de corps? 

5. See Lord Derby's speech, 16th July 1858, 

The end of the Company. 67 

The powers conferred upon the Council were, how- 
ever, not at all adequate to bring about these results. It 
is possible that the great position which the Court of 
Directors filled in outward appearance misled Parliament, 
and their complete subordination in reality to the Board 
of Control during the last twenty five years of their joint 
existence was overlooked ; or else, the responsibility of 
the Secretary of State to parliament was itself thought to 
be quite a sufficient check for all practical purposes. 
Anyhow, the Secretary of State was to -be bound to act 
according to the view of the majority of the Council only 
in certain specified matters : viz. the election of a member 
of Council; the division and distribution of the power of 
making appointments among the several authorities in 
India and the disposal of appeals against such authorities 
by aggrieved parties; contracts, sales, purchases, raising 
loans, &c. on behalf of the Government of India, and all 
matters connected with the property and all real and per- 
sonal estate whatsoever of the Government of India; and, 
last, all matters counected with the expenditure and re- 
venues of the Government of India. In all other respects 
the Council was only an advisory body and the Secretary 
of State was free to send orders to India and to act and to 
abstain as he thought fit, though he had to place on re- 
cord the reasons for his decisions. Five members con- 
stituted a quorum, weekly meetings were to be held, and 
the Secretary of State was to form committees out of the 
Council and allot the various departments of business 
amongst them. 

Audited accounts of the revenue and expenditure 
were to be annually submitted to Parliament accompanied 
by a statement prepared from detailed reports in such a 
form as would best exhibit the moral and material condi- 
tion and progess of the country. And it was also provid- 
ed that the revenues of India were to be applied and dis- 
posed of solely for the purposes of the Government of 
India, that they were not to be applied to defray the ex- 


penses of any military operation beyond the external 
frontiers of British India without the consent of both 
houses of Parliament, 6 and that whenever an order was 
sent directing the actual commencement of war by the 
Government of India, Parliament, if sitting, was to be im- 
formed within three months, or if not sitting at the end 
of such three months, then within one month of the be- 
ginning of its next session. 

Nana Saheb was not driven across the Rapti into 
Nepal before the end of the year. It was April 1859 be- 
fore Tantia Topi was captured. But Queen Victoria was, 
in consequence of the above Act, proclaimed all over India 
on Monday the 1st Nov. 1858. The Proclamation, read 
out on the occasion both in the original and in the verna- 
cular of the district, to the assembled thousands everywhere, 
was couched in terms of rare felicity, struck the right note, 
and instantly went straight to the hearts of the millions 
of India. The Queen had desired it to "give them pledg- 
es which her future reign was to redeem, explain the 
principles of her government and point out the privileges 
which the Indians would receive in being placed on an 
equality with the subjects of the British Crown." It was 
one of her personal acts, if any public act of a constitu- 
tional monarch, performed in his (her) capacity as a constitu- 
tional monarch, can ever be rightly regarded as a personal 
act. Or, perhaps, it would be better to say that while it 
was unquestionably a personal act, it was at the same timo 
more than a merely personal act. It was she who spoke 
but the pledges and the assurance of new and valuable 
privileges 7 were given to the people of India by the Eng- 

6. This clause was due to Gladstone-— Morley I 593. 

7. I copy from Charles Ball's History of the Indian Mutiny, vol- II 
pp. 525-6 a portion of the comments upon the Proclamation pronounced 
by two Indian journals of the time : — 

The Bombay Standard— If we apprehend rightly the meaning of 
the Proclamation the promises it conveys of internal and civil reforms 
See Page 69 


lish Nation speaking through the lips of their august 

A Royal Proclamation at ascending the throne or 
when annexing territory is so essential a part of the 
ceremonial appropriate to the occasion, that one rarely 
thinks of tracing any particular announcement of the kind 
to its source. But the contents of this one are not at all 
of the usual character ; and the policy; they breathe will be 
found more than foreshadowed in the great speech John 
Bright delivered on the second reading of Lord Stanley's 
bill in the House of Commons. 

Mnkharji I 1 34-175 the Act and the Speeches of Lord Pahnerstofi 
and Lord Derby ; also I 431-435, the Proclamation and how it 
was drafted. 

Ilbcrt pp. 94-7. 

Bright: Speeches on June 3, 1853; May 20, 1858; Jane 24, 1858. 

H.Paul. History II 138-178,184-5. 

Concluded from Page 68 

will have, in their performance, the greatest influence on the future 
destinies of this country. We cannot but see in the words Her Majesty 
is made to use, a solution, an effectual solution, of the difficulty advert- 
ed to by Lord Stanley in his last speech — namely, the difficulty of 
administering from a constitutional country the government of a despo- 
tism. In our apprehension, Her Majesty's declaration that the obliga- 
tions which bind her to all her other subjects shall be fulfilled faith- 
fully and conscientiously with regard to the natives of her Indian 
territories, seems to imply, at the very least, the grant of such a consti- 
tution as those other subjects, all and each, are in the present 
enjoyment of ... . Wo do not wish to imply that a copy of the British 
Constitution will be given to this country; but we confidently expect 


The Friend of India — The act of meres' - is a graceful commence 
ment of a new regime. We perceive with pleasure that it is so entensive. 
India is sick of slaughter; .... The revolution in the government of 
India is one, the vastness of which only the next generation will appre- 
ciate. It is the principle of our government, not its external form, 
which has been changed ; and to the mass of men, a new principle is as 
imperceptible as the soul .... India has become part of the British 
dominions; this is all that has happened ; but this is not the insigni- 
ficant all that the enemies of Englishmen would have them believe. 
Nothing was changed, save a name, when the Convention announced 
the abdication of James II. The monarchy was untouched. The pre- 
rogative remained unimpaired. The law remained unmodified .... A 
new principle had been introduced, and the consequence was the differ- 
ence between the England of the Stewarts and the England of Victoria. 
India has also changed a name ; and a century hence, men will date 
the history of progress from the Proclamation of the Queen. 



§ 16. Meaning of a Constitution. — Governments arc 
either absolute or limited. In an absolute government 
there is no legal limit to what the Head of the government 
might do, or order, or permit. Governments in which the 
powers of the Head are not absolute, but limited through 
and by law and custom are also called constitutional gov- 
ernments, because the laws, institutions, customs and 
conventions which limit the powers of the titular Head 
and lay out the channels along which they flow, are col- 
lectively spoken of as the Constitution of the State. 

Such constitutional states are further subdivided 
into States with constitutions that have grown, and 
States with constitutions which have been made. The 
differences between constitutions which have grown 
and constitutions which have been made are many and 

Constitutions of the second variety rest on written 
documents— Acts of the Supreme Legislature or Declara- 
tions of the Supreme Head, or Treaties between the 
smaller states which combine together to form a large 
complex federal state. 

The documents attempt a logical and complete view 
of the whole duty of government and provide for it, by a 
system of correlated and mutually limiting laws, institu- 
tions and departments. In such constitutions the execu- 
tive, the legislative, and the judicial functions of govern- 
ment, — as also the organs entrusted with them, — are 
sometimes clearly separated from one another, and arrang- 
ed so as to form mutual checks. The fundamental liber- 
ties of the individual are moreover defined and safe- 


guarded as far as legal and administrative provisions 
can do so. 

Some written constitutions also include provisions 
laying down a special process or machinery by which 
alone they could be amended. This gives them a rigidity 
not possessed by the flexible or elastic constitutions which 
make no distinction between amendments to the constitu 
tion and ordinary legislation. 

Constitutions that have grown up have none of 
these features ; they are not all written out, not logi- 
cally constructed, not conceived and constructed as a 
whole to cover the entire range of governmental func- 
tions, they do not clearly differentiate the executive, 
the legislative and the judicial functions and organs 
of government from one another, their legislative organs 
are not limited in power but can and do effect funda- 
mental changes in the constitution whenever neces- 
sary, nor are they rigid. They are always in a state of 
flux, and even before all the changes involved in the last 
great effort of public opinion have been fully and definite- 
ly secured, they are moving on to some other great change. 

The Indian Constitution partakes- of the merits and 
defects of both these types. The British Sovereign and 
Legislature being the ultimate authority in regard to it, its 
sovereign will is expressed from time to time in the form of 
Acts from 1858, and previous to that date, of Charters and 
Acts. And this Sovereign created a dependent legislature 
for India by the Charter Act of 1833 and later enactments, 
which has also expressed its own will, within the province 
allowed to it, in the form of Acts. 1 Thus to this extent 
our constitution is like a constitution made. But even 
the whole set of these Acts and Charters taken together 

1. Presidencies recovered legislative power by the Act of 1861, 
which established presidency legislative councils on the same lines as 
the legislative council of the Government of India. 


does not give the whole of the Constitution. The Executive 
Government has also concurrent legislative authority, — at 
least in so far as the King in Parliament permits its exer- 
cise, — so that the regulations, ordinances and resolutions 
of the Government of India have to be taken along with 
the above body of laws, in order to arrive at the written 
law-made constitution of British India. Secondly, the Exe- 
cutive Government has and actively exercises all the 
residual powers of an absolute sovereign ; not merely the 
limited powers of a King in a modern European repre- 
sentative democracy, but the unlimited arbitrary powers 
of an Oriental monarch, which it claims by right of con- 
quest and succession to the last great paramount power 
in India, viz. the Grand Mogul. Thirdly, the charters 
and Acts and other written expressions of the will of the 
State mentioned above, are occasional only, each merely 
attempting to redress a particular grievance, 01 supply a 
particular want or correct a particular defect, not in a 
thorough or logical manner, but only in a haphazard 
practical way. And, lastly, the British people are very 
very gradually learning more and more about India, 
they are very veiy gradually educating India and pre- 
paring it for self-government, and they are very very 
gradually extending the rights and privileges and ins- 
titutions of a modern civilised self-governing people to 
India, as a part of their Empire. In these respects, then, 
our constitution is in a state of growth and flux. 

Marriot : English Political Institutions, ch. 1 and 2. 
Dicey : Law of the Constitution, pp. 1-34. 

§ 17. Supremacy of Parliament. — The Act of 1858 
created a constitution for British India which, from that 
date to 1920, remained the same in essentials, in spite of 
alterations in details. The Supreme Government thus 
established for India consisted of the Governor General in 
Council in India, the Secretary of State for India and his 


Council in England, and'the King in Parliament over both. 
The mutual relations of these three arc not very easy to 
grasp, because in actual working the legal provisions 
Lave a latitude winch gave the individuals in office at any 
tini e , certain amount of discretion or independence of 
action according to their own judgment, as it is very de- 
sirable that political machinery should. And because of 
this person.! freedom or discretion the two principal offi- 
cials-the Secretary of State for India and the Goveruor- 
General-appeared like Rulers armed with great powers, 
almost equal -and concurrent, except where he two dis- 
agreed, or where parliament chose to impose its will. The 
first question, therefore, with reference to this Supreme 
Government of India established from 1858, is-What, 
under it, is the nature and extent of the supremacy ot 
parliament ? 

The word 'parliament' is used in various ways. Some- 
times it means the Crown and the Ministry and the two 
houses of parliament all taken together, although when this 
is meant the more correct expression to use is ' the King 
in Parliament.' This, of course, is the legal or constituted 
sovereign over the whole of the British Empire, and there- 
fore over India also as included within the Empire. Every 
act of government anywhere in the Empire or done any- 
where in the name and on behalf of the Empjre, ..» due 
directly or indirectly to the authority of the King m Par- 
liament. But the question of parliamentary supremacy 
before us refers not so much to this formal matter of the 
final source of all government activity, as to something 
less universal, more particularly connected with India, 
and more definite in meaning. What we have to exa- 
mine is the nature and extent of the supremacy in Indian 
matters of parliament as such. 

Under the English constitution the mutual relations 
between the legislative power and the executive power 
Ht . peculiar. The Ministry are the executive, the housea 


of parliament are the legislature, but the two are so far 
from being separate, that, when parliament is sitting, they 
continuously act and react upon each other. The minis- 
ters are also members of parliament and take the lead in 
the debates. The Ministry have usually so much fresh 
legislation to get from parliament, and there is so much of 
other government work of primary importance — such as 
the annual budget — to be got through, that nearly all the 
time that parliament can devote to legislation of a public 
character is controlled by the Ministry. Both in the 
selection of topics for legislation and in the provisions of 
any particular measure the ministry have of course to 
conduct themselves in lull view of public opinion as ex- 
pressed both in parliament and outside. But this healthy 
influence of parliamentary and outside criticism on the 
legislative programme of ;i ministry is exerted more upon 
the programme as a whole than upon particular items of 
it, and in matters on which English citizens and th ir 
parliamentary representatives are indifferent, the Minis- 
try are left practically free to do anything or nothing at 
their own sweet will. Again, even if througii some cir- 
cumstance India and Indian affairs come into temporary 
prominence and some legislation is undertaken, the 
Opposition have as a rule treated the matter as lying out- 
side party politics. There has usually been, so to say, a 
working understanding or a tacit conspiracy between the 
two "front benches/' which made it almost impossible for 
independent members like Henry Fawcett or Charles 
Bradlaugh, inspired by a pure sense of duty towards the 
dumb millions of India, to achieve anything. Thus the 
supremacy of parliament in the Government of India has 
been exercised in legislative matters, during this period, 
of sixty years from 1858 <<> 1920, only in and through the 
Ministry of the day* 

Acts of the Administration and the general policy 
pursued by it come under the executive functions of a 
government Fne houses ol parliament are g< ueralty 


thought of as the supreme legislature of the Empire, and 
so it might be supposed that parliament would be found 
to exercise its supremacy much more in legislation than in 
executive matters. But just as in legislation, so also in 
this branch of the activity of a government, the actual 
facts are different and highly complex. Under the Eng- 
lish Constitution, the executive is not independent of the 
legislature but responsible to it even for the discharge of 
its own proper function. And this responsibility or de- 
pendence of the executive takes effect in a variety of 
ways, in the day to day influence which the Ministry 
and the houses of parliament exert upon one another 
while parliament is in session. No Ministry can accept 
office or maintain themselves there, unless supported by a 
majority of the members of parliament, especially of the 
house of commons. The English Ministry are an "indi- 
rectly selected" and an "informal but permanent caucus 
of the parliamentary chiefs of the party in power, l " 
The King appoints the ministers, but that is only a form- 
ality. The Prime Minister selects the other ministers, 
but, he too, in forming his ministry, can exercise very 
little freedom of choice. Most of his colleagues must be 
veterans who have had careers as long and nearly as dis- 
tinguished as his own, who were ministers along with him 
when their party had been in power on one or more 
occasions in the past. John. Bull is a political animal and 
the incessant political cogitation and agitation and canvass 
going on in parliament and in the country, and coming to 
a head every now and then in general elections, casts up 
leaders, who by virtue of their effective participation in 
that process get selected as ministers of the Crown, when 
their party obtains a majority in parliament. Thus the 
legislature and the executive arc in sympathy with one 
another when both begin their career at the inauguration 
of a new parliament, and the general policy pursued by a 

1. Lowell, Government of England^ I 55*56. 


ministry with a strong parliamentary majority is as much 
that of the country and of the legislature, as it is their own. 
Under the peculiar parliamentary system of England, 
ex< cutiT e power and political responsibility to parliament 
and country are thus fused together into a unity, and the 
general policy pursued by a Secretary of State for India is 
pursued by him as the selected and trusted agent not only 
of the Ministry but also of the supreme parliament. Hence, 
in this section also, if and in so far as the elector and his 
representative in parliament are indifferent with reference 
to any province of their imperial obligations or determined 
to keep it outside the range of party and within the dis- 
cretion of the supreme executive for the time, the Minis- 
try and the Secretary of State, despite their theoretical 
subordination to parliament, are practically free to do 
anything or nothing at their own sweet will. The military 
burden-in men and money-that India has had to bear, 
the despatch of Indian troops to China or Malta, Egypt or 
South Africa or East Africa, France, or the Dardanelles or 
Mesopotamia, the forward policy, in Baluchistan, Afghani- 
stan, Persia, Arabia, Tibet, Burma, or Sia'm, the share im- 
posed upon India of the expenditure in each case, 
annexations or withdrawals, and all similar matters in- 
separable from high policy, have been thus decided 
throughout this period from 1858 to 3 920 by the British 
Ministry and the Secretary of State for India, and the 
parliament as such has done very little indeed to exercise 
any check as the trustee under Providence of Indian 

In this sphere, too, independent members have now 
and then raised their voices, but it was only on one 
occasion, 1879-80, that the Indian policy of the Govern- 
ment of the day was checked and then reversed, and even 
this single instance cannot be claimed as an exception in 
which the parliament asserted its supremacy as such. The 
check and reversal in Indian frontier policy was brought 


about as part and parcel of an entire reversal of the foreign 
policy of the conservative part}- under Lord Bcaconsfield 
by the liberal party under Gladstone, who first opposed 
them in parliament and then brought about ji general 
election in which they secured an overwhelming majority. 2 

Particular acts of the Administration, as distinct from 
general policy, come under the supervision, criticism and 
control of parliament in a variety of ways, when, as a re- 
sult of the question or debate or the vote, the paiticular 
matter is remedied or the officer concerned dealt with as 
might be necessary, after full opportunity has been affor- 
ded to the Executive to place before parliament all that 
could be urged in explanation, extenuation or defence. 
The opportunities for thus bringing pressure upon the 
executive "are manifold. There is first the address in 
answer to the King's speech at the opening of the session ; 
then the questions day by day give a chance if not for 
direct* criticism, at least for calling the ministers to acco- 
unt; then there -are the motions to adjourn; the private 
members' motions ; the debates' ; on going into the Commit- 
tees of Supply and Ways and Means; the discussions in 
thejCommittee of Supply itself; the debates on the Consoli- 
dated Fund Resolutions, on the Appropriation Bill, on the 
Budget, and on the motions to adjourn for the holidays, 
and, finally, the formal motions of want of oonfidence." 3 
Now, it is not possible in a brief and elementary book like 
this to enter upon a detailed examination of how these 
various opportunities have been availed of in parliament 
with reference to Indian topics, during such a long period 
as sixty years; and to point out, as a result, how even in 
this branch of the subject the supremacy of parliament is, 
as a matter of fact, merel) 7 " nominal. All that can be at- 
tempted is to offer some select illustrations. 

2 Morley, Gladstone, bk VII. 

3 Lowell, I 328-9. 


A recent instance of the motion to adjourn the house 
for the consideration of an urgent matter, is the debate 
on the report of the Mesopotamia Commission, which 
occupied two days in both the houses. 4 The enquiry had 
revealed that the soldiers had suffered indescribable 
privations and many valuable lives had been lost; the 
transport services had not been adequate for months and 
the medical arrangements had been disgracefully meagre 
and had, moreover, broken down. The Commission had 
censured certain departments and also certain high 
officials by name, such as the Secretary of State for 
India, the Governor General, the Commander in Chief in 
India, and the military member of the India Council, 
The publication of the report on June 26th excited a 
passionate outburst all over England, and it was because 
of that circumstance and that alone, that the debate com- 
pelled the executive government to take action, and im- 
portant results followed. The Secretary of State for India 
was the official who was technically bound to take all the 
blame upon himself, except such as could be judicially 
proved against particular individuals for specific actions 
or omissions, and Mr. Chamberlain announced to the 
House of Commons at a very early stage in the debate 
that he had actually resigned. Lord Hardinge also re- 
signed, but at that moment he had long ceased to be Gov- 
ernor General, and was holding a subordinate position as 
permanent secretary at the Foreign Office; no political 
responsibility is ever attached, under the constitution, to 
permanent civil servants even of the highest rank ; nor 
could a censure based upon the way in which he had dis- 
charged his duties as Governor General in a particular 
episode be held to affect his competence for thislater post; 
and his resignation was not accepted. Lastly, the Com- 
mander in Chief and the other military officers were dealt 
with by the Army Council. 

4 July 12 and 13, 1917. 

SUPREMACY Of parliament 79 

Private members' motions for specific executive ac- 
tion were never very numerous in parliament. We may 
note four instances. In 1889 the House of Commons passed 
a resolution directing the Government of India to modify 
then excise policy so as to discourage intemperance. 
Messrs. W. S. Caine and S. Smith led the way in this im- 
portant question, and the result has been both fuller 
information on the excise administration to parliament 
and an effective cheek upon the tendency of executive 
departments to attach too much importance to mere 
increase of revenue. Another resolution the same year 
condemned the India Government for encouraging the 
consumption of opium in India, a vote that was repeated 
two years later, But the government appointed a Royal 
Commission with Lord Brasscy as President, which 
reported in 1895 in favour of the existing system, and no 
change has been made. 5 As a last instance might be noted 
Mr. H. Paul's resolution of the 3rd of June 1893, that the 
examinations for the Indian Civil Service and other non- 
military services should in future be held simultaneously 
in India as well as England. The Government, however, 
collected against it "the opinions of Indian officials, which 
were almost wholly adverse to the change/' 6 developed 
the cult of an irreducible minimum of Europeans as indis- 
pensable for efficiency and demanded by the masses as 
well as by the more virile but less literary races of India, 
and did nothing. 

On the 12th February 1895 Dadabhai Naoroji moved 
an amendment to add to the address a humble prayer to 
the effect that the British Exchequer should bear a fair 
and equitable portion of the expenditure incurred by 
India both in "the employment of Europeans in the British 
Indian Services," and "on all.military and political opera- 
tions beyond the boundaries of India. " This led to the 

5 Stracbey, eh. 

6 Lowell, f 

t Poverty and Un-British Bule t pp 294-304 


appointment of a Royal Commission with Lord Welby as 
president, 8 but it did not report till 1900, nor did it make 
any 'fair and equitable' recommendations as to the stand- 
ing military burdens of India or the heavy extra expenses 
imposed upon her from time to time by reason of wars 
of annexation or of Imperial policy. 9 Every one was dis- 
appointed at the result, from Sir Henry Fowler downwards. 
What was worse, the Commission did recommend that 
England should make to India an annual contribution of 
£ 50,000 in aid of the charge for the India Office ; and this 
no English Government, Liberal or Conservative, was then 
prepared to concede. 

The constitutional objection to such proposals is that 
to adopt them would be to bring that part of the expendi- 
ture of the Government of India regularly before the 
House of Commons in Committee of Supply; that would 
be to subject Indian policy and administration regularly 
to the review of parliament; whereas, although parlia- 
ment is of course ultimately the supreme authority even 
as regards Indian policy, checks and obstacles have been 
deliberately interposed between the Indian Executive and 
parliament, s>o that the intention is to leave the Indian 
policy of a Ministry which possesses the general confidence 
of parliament, free from the full force of its regular and 
detailed control. Parliament is of course the supreme 
authority whenever it chooses to assert itself; but the con- 
stitution it has deliberately framed for India is that it does 
not choose to assert itself, except under exceptional 

8 For a brief account of this Commission with comments see It. C. 
, Victorian Age, pp, 555-561; J. R. Macdonald, Government of India 

pp 154-158. 

9 Gladstone's government contributed £b million* to India towar- 
ds thp cojst ( £ l&H millions: Moral & Material Progress Statement, 
1882-3, p. 87 ) of the Afghan War. As Dutt notes, "itis the only instance 
on record of a practical recognition of the principle that the cost of Im- 
perial policy wars beyon.d the Indian frontier, should not he borne by 
India aloof.'— p, 483. 


circumstances. Hence it is that, to pass on to another of 
our illustrations, it is not parliament that settles the Indian 
budget. That is settled by the Governor General in 
Council, obtaining such fresh sanctions as might be neces- 
sary in any year from the Secretary of State and Council. 
The so-called Indian Budget Debate that takes place in the 
House of Commons on the motion (that the Speaker do 
now leave the Chair) to go into Committee on the East 
India Revenue Accounts, is "a purely academic discus- 
sion which had no effect whatever upon events in India, 
conducted after the events that were being discussed had 
taken place." 10 That was why the debate took place 
before empty benches. That was why a busy Ministry 
and a parliament with far more work than it could dispose 
of, fixed it year after year near the end of the session, 
generally after the Appropriation Bill had been read a 
second time. It was not even obligatory to have it every 
year, and during the Great War it was altogether omitted 
more than once. But that was also the reason why mem- 
bers of parliament who wanted to reform this constitution 
of India, hit upon the expedient of an amendment to the 
Indian Budget motion, that "in view of the responsibility 
of parliament in reference to the Government of India, 
and in order to provide for a more effective control over 
Indian questions, it is expedient to place the salary of the 
Secretary of State for India on the Estimates." Such an 
amendment was proposed several times but no Ministry, 
liberal or conservative, could allow it to pass unless it 
was also prepared to alter fundamentally the character of 
the constitution of India as it had been fixed by the 
Act of 1858. 11 

10 E. S. Montagu: in the Mesopotamian Debate, 12-7-1917. 

11. Mr. Cathoart Wason's amendment was negatived in J 905 b^ 
51 votes in a house of 181 ; in the first Indian Budget debate under the 
Liberals in 1906, Mr> Keir Hardie's amendment was negative d by 64 
rotes in a houso of 242 There are some letters from Morley to Miafco 
bearing on Morley's ispeech in this second debate. Recollections If pp- 


For our last illustration let us look at the pressure 
which Lancashire has repeatedly exerted through parlia- 
ment upon the Government of India. The Secretary of 
State has been asked by memorials and deputations and 
by means of motions and resolutions in parliament to in- 
crease the quantity and improve the quality of the cotton 
grown in India, to push on the extension of railways in 
lean years as well as in fat, to pay more and more regard 
to the condition of the labourer working in the textile fac- 
tories of India, and, above all, to avoid any such taxation 
and policy as might, in the Indian market, give even the 
local manufacturer of cloth any advantage over that of 
Lancashire. This is the special brand of the humanitarian 
free trade gospel a la Lancashire, warranted to bestow 
upon the Indian masses the triune blessing of the cheapest 
clothing, the highest real wages, and the most reliable fa- 
mine relief. Hansard records so many discussions and 
resolutions on this subject that it is not easy to make a 
choice. But perhaps the most characteristic instance is 
the motion of the 10th July }&77, demanding the imme- 
diate repeal of the import duties on cotton goods (5^ 
ad valorem) imposed by the Indian Tariff Act of 1875. 
The conservative Government was in office; they resisted 
it but only succeeded in inducing the house to add a 
qualification to the effect that repeal was to take place 
"without delay, as soon as the financial condition of India 
will permit." But just then a widespread famine was rag- 
ing in many parts of India. The budget of 1878 provided 
for an annual saving of a million and a half as a famine 
insurance fund by means of increased taxation. Lastly, 
on the 21st November, General Sir Frederick Roberts 
crossed the Kuram, and began that search for a "scientific 
frontier," the second Afghan War. The famine insurance 
fund, raised by means of additional taxation of a most ob- 
jectionable character, disappeared. Two millions were to 
be received from England as a loan towards the expenses 
of the war Other loans were to be raised in India and 


England to the tune of thirteen millions und it half. And 
yet, a general eleetion was also fast approaching, the 
Lancashire voter had to be bribed whatever the cost to 
India, and Lord Salisbury the Secretary of State ordered a 
reduction in the cotton import duties, and Lord Lytton 
introduced the reduction in the budget, overruling a 
majority of his Council. Two paragraphs from the Hon. 
Mr. W. Stokes' minute of dissent deserve quotation. 

Fifthly, because by the proposed repeal, the Manchester manufac- 
turers; would practically compel the people of India to buy cotton 
cloths adulterated, if possible, more shamefully than such goods are at 
present. The real cost of the clothiug of the people would thus be in- 
creased rather than lessened. 

Sixthly, because Indian newspapers will proclaim in every bazaar 
that the repeal was made solely in the interest of Manchester, and for 
the Conservative party, who are, it is alleged, anxious to obtain the 
Lancashire vote at the coming elections. Of course the people of 
India will be wrong; they always must be wrong when they impute 
selfish motives to the ruling race. 12 

12 H. Fawcett. Indian Finance, ch. I and II; Dutt Victorian Era* 
pp. 402-415. 

Also C. J. Hamilton, Trade Relations, ch. 9. Prof. Hamilton 
does not deal with the political question at all, yet says: " When Lord 
Salisbury demanded abolition in 1874 ( i. e. from 74 onwards ) he could 
scarcely be excused from the charge of being disingenuous in claiming 
to speak in the interests of India alone." (p. 234). 

The case for Lord Salisbury, Lord Lytton and Sir John Strachey 
will be found in Lady B. Balfour : Lytton s Indian Administration, ch. 
10 & Sir J. Strachey: Indian Administration and Progress, 4th ed. ch, 12 
A low sentences, ending with a resolution of the house of commons 
April 4, 1879, may bj quoted from the last : 

" The application to the Indian customs tariff of the principles of 
greater freedom of trade might have been long delayed but for the acci- 
dent that the interests of a great British industry were affected .... 
Popular opinion in India had always, in regard to questions of fiscal 
reform, been obstructive and ignorant ; and the fact that the abolition 
of customs duties would be favourable to English manufacturers was 
enough, in the belief of many to prove that the party purpose of obtain- 
ing political support in Lancashire was the real motive of the Govt. 

( See page 84 ) 


The Act of 1858 might, on a superficial view appear 
to have established the absolute supremacy of parliament 
in the Government of India by putting an end to the East 
India Company and their Court of Directors. But we 
have now examined the practical effect of that Act in the 
spheres of legislation, policy, and individual administrative 
acts and omissions. And the conclusion forced upon us 
is that the outward appearance or the mere letter of the 
law is often deceptive. The fundamentals of the English 
Constitution and the peculiarities of parliamentary pro- 
cedure have so controlled the working of the Act that 
it really placed India under an autocratic executive, liable 
to be influenced by interested parties in England and in 
India, and unable to protect India from them, except on 
the rare occasions when the parliament and the people of 
England asserted themselves on behalf of their great but 
oriental and politically inert Dependency. 

J. A. R. Marriott, chs. 4 and 11. 

§ 18 The Secretary of State and the Governor General. 
These two high officials form together the double link 
that joins England to India. The Governor General is the 
working head of all branches of the administration, and he 
represents, besides, the Crown of England in India and 
is therefore also called the Viceroy. He is the highest 

( Concluded from page 83 ) 
This foolish calumny deserved and deserves no notice or reply. The 
opposition to the reform satisfied Lord Lytton that he must carry out 
the measure himself, or acquiesce~in nothing being done at all. He be- 
lieved that the interests of India required it, and he was not to be 
deterred by the imputation of base motives .... The step was taken by 
Lord Lytton in opposition to the opinion of a majority of his Council, 
but on my own advice as member in charge of the finances. It was 
approved on April 4, 1879, by the house of commons in the following 
resolution : 

That Indian import duty on cotton goods, being unjust alike to the 
Indian consumer and the English producer, ought to be abolished, and 
this House accepts the recent reduction in these duties as a step 
towards, their total abolition, to which Her Majesty's Government are 
pledged. " 


personage of the State ; he is the Government of India in- 
carnate. Whatever the Government of India is empower- 
ed or allowed by law and constitutional usage to do is 
done in the name of the Governor General in Council, imd 
the Governor General can, if he chooses, personally assert 
himself with regard to any such matter, however trivial 
Innumerable instances can be quoted of his plenary power 
The installation of the Nizam in 1884 with Sir Salar IJang' s 
young son Laik Ali as minister and without any unfavour- 
able treaty about Berar, was very probably a personal 
act of Lord Ripon's. 1 Lord Curzon carried personal inter- 
ference in the administration farther than any other 
Governor General of recent times ; his interference in the 
famine relief administration of more than one province; 
and his punishment of a British regiment for a crime com- 
mitted by one of its soldiers against a woman of the people 
may be cited as instances in which his assertion of supre- 
me power did incalculable good. As another illustration 
of the manner in which this masterful viceroy saw his duty 
and performed it may be mentioned the fact that he per- 
suaded Principal F. G. Selby to accept the post of Director 
of Public Instruction in the Bombay President against 
the latter's own inclinations, and on the high ground that 
it was a dereliction of the duty an able Englishman owed 
to the land of his adoption, to hesitate merely on the score 
of personal tastes when an opportunity of higher service 
and utility offered itself. And as a last illustration may 
be cited Lord Hardinge's interference in the U. P. where 
local Muhammadan feeling had become excited over the 
widening of a main road in a city, which if carried out in 
the ordinary way would have cut off a few square yards of 
space from a mosque. Of course, no such instances, 
taken singly or collectively, can imply that the Governor 
General is an autocrat like a Maharaja or a Nawab. The 

1 W. S. Blunt : India under Ripon. But the Governor General is his 
own minister for foreign affairs; see the fuller discussion of the subject 
further on. 


Government of British India is a reign of law and of cus- 
toms and precedents which have nearly all the precision 
and limitations of written law. As Article 49 of the 
Charter Act of 1793 expressly provided, the Governor 
General even when setting aside the opinion of his council 
and acting on his own, had still no powers whatever which 
the Government of India as legally constituted could not 
lawfully exercise. 

The appointment of the Governor General is made by 
the Crown; but that is only a formality. The Prime 
Minister and the Secretary of State for India make the 
selection. The opinion of an experienced monarch like 
Queen Victoria or Edward VII would necessarily carry great 
weight even with the greatest of prime ministers ; but the 
responsibility for the choice rests with the last ; and the 
Secretary of State may carry his point with his chief by a 
threat of resignation. 2 

Changes in the Ministry in England do not necessarily 
involve a resignation by the Governor General. Although 
the new ministry might belong to a different party, it 
might not have an Indian policy different from that of their 
predecessors. And even if there was such a change, the 
Governor General appointed by one party might continue 
to serve, if he had no objection to carry out the new r 
policy. Lord Minto, for instance, was appointed by the 

2 Morley, Recollections, his letters to Lord Minto of; April 29 and 
June 1, 1910. — " My whole point was that the impression made on 
India by sending your greatest soldier ( Lord Kitchener ) to follow 
Reforms would make them look a practical paradox. It will then be for 
Asquith to say whether he goes with me or not. If he does, then he will 
have to support that view in the Royal closet. If he does not, then the 
Indian Secretary will go scampering off, like a young horse. ." Take 
another instance. In 1875 Lord Randolph Churchill tendered his resig- 
nation as Secretary of State for India because the 'Prime Minister, 
without consulting him, had transmitted to the Viceroy a suggestion by 
the Queen that one of her sons should be appointed to the command of 
the forces in Bombay. The appointment was not; made, and Lord K. 
withdrew his resignation."— Lowell, I p. 42. 


unionists, but when the liberals came into power soon 
after, he continued at his post and helped in the prepara- 
tion and introduction of the Morley Reforms. Lord 
Northbrook on the other hand, objected both to the for- 
ward policy in Afghanistan and the dictation of the Secre- 
tary of State in Indian Finance, (which the Beaconsfield 
Ministry and their Secretary of State, Lord Sal ; sbury, 
insisted upon), and resigned. His succeessor Lord Lytton 
sympathised with the conservative policy, adopted it as 
his own, and when the liberals attacked the Indian 
measures of the conservatives as bitterly as their general 
policy, and, as a result of the wellknown Midlothian 
campaign came into power with an overwhelming majority 
and the conservative ministry resigned, he too resigned 
office along with his political friends. 5 Lastly, there is 
the case of Lord Curzon's resignation, This arose out of 
a difference of opinion between him and his commander 
in chief, Lord Kitchener. The military department of the 
Government of India had at its head a soldier who was an 
ordinary member of the Governor General's council, and 
was the constitutional adviser of the Governor General on 
all army matters. The Commander in Chief was the head 
of the army, but any proposals he had were to be submitted 
to the Government of India through this Military Depart- 
ment. Lord Kitchener objected to this. The Government 
of India, on the other hand, were unanimously of opinion 
that the system was absolutely necessary to maintain the 
supremacy of the civil authorities over the military. The 
Secretary of State for India and the British Cabinet decided 
the issue in favour of Lord Kitchener, and Lord Curzon 
resigned. 4 

We pass on to a consideration of the powers of the 
Secretary of State for India and the mutual relations bet- 
ween him and the Governor General. The Secretary of 

3 Lady B. Balfour : Lytton's Indian Administration p. 419. 
•1 Sir T. Rnlpiph . Lord <"nr?on iv India, pp. xlviii to li. 


State has taken the place of the former Board of Control 
and the East India Company and represents, besides, the 
supreme authority of the British cabinet and the British 
parliament. It is worth noting that parliament has not 
conferred any individuality upon the Secretary of State as 
such. Section 3 of the Act of 1858, following the pre- 
vious enactments about the Board of Control and its 
President, speaks only of "one of His Majesty's principal 
Secretaries of State." Thus any of these members of 
the Cabinet can perform the duties of the Secretary 
of State for India. This is an excellent example of the 
way in which the British constitution combines individual 
initiative with collective responsibility. And the ar- 
rangement has its convenience on exceptional occasions 
also, e. g., when His Majesty visits India in person, 
or when the Secretary of State for India has to do so 
himself. The same section provides that he is the heir 
to all the powers of the Board of Control and the East 
India Company. And under section 25 of the Charter Act 
of 1833 he has, whenever he chooses to exercise it, " full 
power and authority to superintend direct and control all 
acts operations and concerns " " which in any wise relate 
to or concern the Government of India," and* "all grants of 
salaries, gratuities and allowances and all other payments 
and charges whatever, out of or upon the said revenues 
and property, " except in so far as parliament has other- 
wise provided with respect to any portion of this power 
and authority. The exception, let us add at once, 
refers only to such powers as have been conferred by 
parliament on the India Council of overriding the authority 
of the Secretary of State, and these we shall return 
to in a later section. The constitutional conventions 
with regard to the Secretary of State's powers of superin- 
tendence direction and control are a more difficult topic. 
Under the East India Company Governors-General could 
not wait for orders from England, and had as a rule to 
take action on their own responsibility even in matters of 


peace and war. But in the meanwhile science was pro- 
gressing and the world was shrinking up. After 1858 
Governors-General could be controlled more effectively 
and continuously from England. The telegraph made it 
possible to send brief orders several times a day. The 
time consumed in sending full reports by post from 
one end and detailed instructions from the other also 
became progressively shorter. 7 But the intention of the 
legislature was that except in foreign affairs the responsi- 
bility for the administration and progress of India was pri- 
marily that of the Government of India, and that sufficient 
initiative was therefore to be left with it. Thus the Gov- 
ernment of India continued practically a great independent 
State, and the Secretary of State did not exercise his initia- 
tive even in matters of parliamentary legislation. The 
impulse given by the Mutiny produced several great Acts 
(which will be discussed in later chapters), and then for a 
time parliament and the British ministry left India to itself. 
The age of Palmerston was a quiescent period in England 
also. A new era began with the Beaconsfield Ministry 
( February 1874 to April 1880 ). And in the eighties also be- 
gan the pressure of Indian opinion for greater rights and re- 
presentative legislatures. After a short period of hesi- 
tation the Government of India made up their own minds 
about it. The Services were no longer animated by the 
enthusiasms of the period from Bentinck to Lawrence. 
The European settler was no longera mere pioneer. He 
had grown in numbers and in wealth, he was socially 
and politically organised, he held certain great industries 
in the hollow of his hand and was proceeding to acquire 
other monopolies, and whereas in a former generation 
he had leaned upon and followed the lead of the Ser- 
vices, he was now the senior partner of the concern, 
and it was for the Services to follow where he led the 
way. In England, too, jingoism gathered force, and 

7 The Suez Canal was opened in November 1869. 


yarns like the Bridge Builders and rhymes like the White 
Man's Burden appeared, showing how genius itself was 
not always independent of prevailing currents of opinion 
and emotion. The Government of India capitulated to 
Anglo-Indian opinion from the time of the Ilbert Bill.* 
Parliament itself refused in the nineties to move a single 
inch beyond what such opinion considered absolutely 
safe. Nothing could be done until England itself changed. 
This too happened. Campbell-Bannefman came into 
power in 1905 with a liberal majority behind him of 
commanding strength. Jingoism perished unwept, un- 
honoured and unsung in South Africa and elsewhere. The 
Anglo-Russian Agreement established the essentials of a 
solid peace in Western Asia. 9 Hopes ran high in Egypt 
and in India. The Government of India, however, had 
not changed. Anglo-India had not changed. Their 

8 " 22nd December 1883. ..Mrs. Ilbert called to ask condolence. 8he 
Bays her husband has been abandoned by every one, and now by Lord 
Ripon. She blames Lord Ripon for his weakness, not the people at home. 
Lord Kimberley had written to her husband, urging him to stand firm, 
but the members of council were frightened out of their wits, and Lord 
R. has followed them. "— W. S. Blunt, pp. 96-7 

9 Morley, Recollections, Bk V ch 1 and 2, esp. letter to Lord Minto 
July 6, 1906,— "H. M.'s Government have determined on their course 
and it is for their agents and officers all over the world to accept it~ 
If there is one among them to whom it would be more idle to repeat thi» 
a, b, c of the constitution than another, you are that man. ..this country 
cannot have two foreign policies." This applies to the whole period 
from 1784 ( Pitt's India Act ) to 1920. Wellesley overstepped the liraiti 
of the foreign policy approved by the Board of Control and lost their 
support. Curzon ( Morley notes more than once ) went beyond what 
the Conservative Cabinet approved in his Tibetan policy. Some few 
exceptions like that, however, in a long period do not invalidate the 
truth of the general statement. 

The British Cabinet cares less, and less continuously, about the 
Princes of India. In this branch of foreign policy, then, we might expect 
to find greater liberty of action allowed to the Govt, of India. But 
even here the British Ministry have asserted themselves whenever the 
Govt, of India went too far. Dalhousie's policy was reversed by the 
Proclamation. Curzon's hectoring policy was followed by Minto'a 
quiet and soothing urbanity and Hardinge's sympathetic friendliness 


representatives and organs in the Lords, the Commons and 
the English press had not changed. Morley's speeches 
and his letters to Lord Minto reveal the enormous friction 
against which he had to advance The shibboleth of the 
relative position of the Secretary of State and the Govern- 
ment of India under the constitution, was a party cry raised 
by these reactionaries to maintain their privileged posi- 
tion intact against liberal assault. Fortunately, with the 
new constitution now established under the Act of 1 91 9, the 
constitution as it persisted from 1858 to 1920 has become a 
thing of the past, and knotty questions like this have now 
only an historical interest. Lord Salisbury and Lord Mor- 
ley are instances of Secretaries of State who exerted their 
constitutional power to the utmost, while, of course, Lord 
Curzon is the outstanding example of a Governor General 
whom history must hold personally responsible for a 
goodly proportion of the acts done by the Government of 
India during his regime. 

Ilbert ch 3 §§ 2, 13, 14, 21, 36, 37, 44, 48. 
Sir V. Chirol, Indian Unrest, ch. 26 

§ ig The Executive Council. We have already trac- 
ed the history of the Governor-General's ( and Governor's) 
Council from the Regulating Act to the Charter Act of 
1853. This last enactment converted the Law member 
into a full member of Council ( § 21 ). By the Charter 
Act of 1833 this was the only member whose appointment 
was "subject to the approbation of His Majesty, to be 
signified in writing by His Royal Sign Manual," counter- 
signed, of course, by the responsible member of the Privy 
Council ( § 4o). By the Act of 1853, the appointment of 
all members of Council, both in the Government of India 
and the Presidency Governments, was made subject to 
similar approbation of the Crown ( § 20 ). From that date 
to 1919 the number of the ordinary members of the Gov_ 
emor-General's Council has risen from four to six. The 
Indian Councils Act, 1861, added the fifth member ( § 3 ) 


the Indian Councils Act, 1874, added a sixth, specially for 
public works, 1 and the Indian Councils Act, 1904, made 
him like the other four ( excepting the Law member ) 
available for any department. Ever since the Act of 179:>> 
the Commander in Chief has been an extraordinary mem- 
ber of the Council ( § 32 ). Of the ordinary members the 
Law member must be an English or Irish barrister or a 
Scotch advocate of not less than five years' standing; and 
three others must have put in at least ten years in the 
service of the Crown in India at the time of their appoint- 
ment. The Act of 1861 provided that these " shall be 
appointed by the Secretary of State for India in Council 
with the concurrence of a majority of his Council." The 
absence of legislative direction as to the qualifications of 
the other two members has facilitated the appointment of 
financial experts or of members of the English Civil Service, 
And from 1909 one Indian has been appointed to the 
Council. 2 The first two of the Indians so appointed in 
succession, Mr. S. P. ( now H. E. Lord ) Sinha and Mr. 
( now Sir ) Ali Imam were Law members, but the third, 
Sir Sankaran Nair, was given a different department. 

Originally, every matter was referred to the whole 
Council. But the Act of 1861 empowered the Governor 
General "to make rules and orders for the more conveni- 

1 The post was not always filled. According to Sir T. Raleigh, Cur- 
zon "before he left India, obtained the consent of the Secretary of State" 
(p. xv ) to revive the practice of filling it and there has been no 
break since. 

2 " No Indian member had ever been appointed. ..Innovation in this 
exclusive practice was evidently of profound significance and so it was 
felt to be, both in India and at home. It removed one of the most con- 
spicuous stamps of inferiority and gave Indians a new and widened 
share both in framing laws and in influence on daily administration. 
Resistance to so serious a move was natural and determined. It was 
more determined a thome than among Europeans in India itself." Morley 
Recollections Bk V ch I See also his speech in the House of Lords, 23-2 
1.009 and his letters to Lord Minto of May 3, June 15, August 2, Novem- 
ber 15, 190(5; February 15 and 28, April 12, May 3 and 16, and August 23» 
1907; December 12 1908; and January 21 and 28, February 4, 18 and 25 
and March 12, li)09.LordLansdowne called it l a tremendous innovation * 


cut transaction of business" by his Council ( § 8 ), and 
these "few words gave to Lord Canning and his successors 
the means of reforming" 3 the system. Thus arose working 
by departments with a centralised secretariat at the seat 
of government. At the apex of each department is the 
Secretary to Government in that department. Matters of 
routine, where the case falls clearly under established 
rules and regulations are disposed of by him. All other 
matters he submits to the Member of Council in charge of 
the department, in a form ready for decision and with his 
own opinion thereon. On many of these the Member is able 
to pass the final orders on his own authority, but the rest 
are submitted to the Governor General. Personal consul- 
tations between these three or any two of them are also 
frequent, nor is any of them debarred from informal con- 
sultation with any other Member. Much of the most 
important business of a department is thus settled by the 
Governor General and the member for the department. 
But whenever the Governor General or the member of 
Council considers further discussion necessary, where ' 
more than one department or more than one province are . 
concerned, where a provincial government has to be over- 
ruled, or where fresh legislation or a new departure would 
be involved, the matter is submitted to the Council as a 
whole. The system is sufficiently elastic to secure indivi- 
dual responsibility with a continuity of policy, but its 
successful and harmonious working depends to a great 
extent upon the personality of the Governor General. 

The distribution of the entire work of the administra- 
tion into departments is not very logically carried out, for 
at the time of Lord Canning there were only seven men 
available for the purpose including the Governor General 
and the Commander in Chief, and only one more member 
has been added since. The Governor General himself 

3 Strachey, p. 67; seo the whole discussion, pp. 62-70. Also Can- 
ning {Rulers of India) pp, 46, 191-4; Hunter Life of Mayo; Jteport of the 
decentralization Commission. 


takes charge of the foreign department. In all questions 
arising out of the relations of India and the Empire with 
the outside world, that is to say, in all matters of foreign 
policy strictly so called, the Governor General is free to 
represent fully to the Secretary of State in England how 
a particular event or a recent measure actually taken or a 
further step under consideration would affect India, her 
safety, her interests, her finances. But with that his duty 
ends. The decision rests with the Cabinet in England, 
and the Governor General has to loyally carry out their 
orders. He is "a 'parliamentary' Governor General respon- 
sible to parliament through the medium of the ministry" 
in more senses than one, some of them rather vague; but 
his position and his duty so far as foreign relations go 
have been perfectly clear throughout the period from 1858 
to 1 920. Internal foreign policy is concerned with Indian 
States, the frontier tribes, and the relations of India with 
Afghanistan, Persia, the Arabian coast, and the smaller 
powers on the frontier generally, who have hardly a 
recognised status in the hierarchy of international law. 
In dealing with these the Government of India has more 
latitude. The Governor General consults experts and is 
in constant communication with the Secretary of State on 
all these matters also, but in this sphere he can take deci- 
sions to some extent on his own responsibility. But here, 
too, it is the policy of the British Cabinet that prevails in 
the long run. And throughout the period under consider- 
ation the powers of the Government of India over Native 
States have been "exercised in four main directions: — 

(1) Entire control of all external relations of the States. 

(2) Responsibility for the safety and welfare of British 
subjects and of the subjects of foreign powers. (3) A 
tacit guarantee to the ruler that he shall not be removed 
by insurrection or internal disorders. (4) A tacit 
guarantee to the subjects of the ruler that they shall not 
be grossly oppressed nor misgoverned." 5 

4 Holderness, p. 163. 

5 Rushbrook Williams pp. 44-5, See also India and the Durbvr 
chs 3 and 8. 


The Commander in Chief is now in sole charge of the 
Army Department. But this arrangement dates from the 
resignation of Lord Curzon over the Curzon-Kitchener 
controversy related above. Prior to that episode the military 
department was under a soldier appointed as an ordinary 
Member of Council, whom during the period of his appoint- 
ment the constitution relieved of all military duties, kept 
permanently at the centre of the Government, and treated 
as a civilian. e The Legislative Department is under the 
Law member, and besides performing the functions indi- 
cated by its title, it performs all the duties of the Govern- 
ment of India in connection with provincial legislation 
and advises the other departments on legal questions and 
principles, often dissuading them from courses of action 
not really within their competence. It also gives final 
shape and form to such legislative power as the Govern- 
ment of India possesses independently of its legislative 
council. The Home Department has always been 
entrusted to an experienced member of the Indian Civil 
Service. Questions of internal politics such as riots, sedi- 
tion and anarchy and their prevention, the censorship and 
control of the press, the administration of the Arms Act, 
as well as the administration of law and justice, jails, 
police and the C. I. D., form an important part of its func- 
tions. Thus it touches the administration of the provin- 
ces at many points. The Department of Revenue and 
Agriculture was also for many years under the member in 
charge of the Home Department, but in 1 905 these two 
were separated and Revenue and Agriculture and Public 
Works were joined together under one member. The 
Revenue and Agriculture Department, since its reconsti- 

6 For additional information see Gaxetteer IV pp 28, 360-5. The 
Military Supply Department then created and placed under an ordinary 
Member of Council looked after army contracts, army clothing, re- 
mounts, military works, ordnance, the Royal Indian Marine, and the 
military work of the Indian Medical Service. But it was abolished in 
1909 (Moral and Material Progrti* Report, 1911-12, p. 53). 


tution in 1881, has supervised land revenue administra- 
tion, agricultural inquiry improvement and education, 
famine relief, and the improvement of agricultural and 
co-operative credit. The linking together of this with the 
Public Works Department was facilitated by the creation 
at the same time of the Railaway Board and the Com- 
merce and Industry Department. The Finance Depart- 
ment which has sometimes been placed under an expert 
from England, is entrusted with the supervision and control 
of the general administration of imperial and provincial 
finance , and is specially in charge of currency and the 
heads of 'separate revenue' — opium, salt, excise, stamps, 
and assessed taxes. Lastly, in moving a Resolution in 
the Imperial Legislative Council in March 1910, recom- 
mending that a beginning be made in the direction of free 
and compulsory education and that a Commission be 
appointed to frame definite proposals, the late Mr. G. K. 
Gokhle asked that there should be a separate Secretary for 
Education in the Home Department in the place of the 
Director General of Education created by Lord Curzon, 
and looked forward to a time when there would be also a 
member of Council in charge of the department. Lord 
Minto by one of mVlast' acts 7 as Governor General res. 
ponded to this by placing a member of Council in charge 
of education, sanitary and medical administration, and 
local self-government, and his successor Lord Hardinge 
went further still by placing this department under the 
Indian member of Council, Sir Sankaran Nair. 

The Acts of 1786 and 1793 have been noted in an 
earlier chapter, which gave the Governor General "a dis- 
cretionary power of acting (or forbearing to act) without 
the concurrence of his Council, in cases of high import- 

7 November 1910. Gokhle' s Speeches, pp.713 and 718. Of course 
Lord Minto's step was not due altogether to Gokhle's suggestion. The 
idea had been there ever since the post of Director General of Edu- 
cation was first created, 1903 ( 0. Bronwing Impressions, p. 160). 


ance and essentially affecting the public interest, safety, 
tranquillity, and welfare; " the Government of India Act 
1870 repeated this provision (§ 5) 8 ; and it has continued 
in force throughout the period of our review. The pro- 
ceedings of the Council are very properly kept strictly 
confidential, and it is not very easy to judge how often 
this discretionary power has been resorted to as a matter 
of fact, or what influence it has had on the spirit in which 
the Governor General on the one hand or the members of 
Council on the other perform their functions. Nor can 
we rely much, in a question of this character, upon the 
public utterances of the high officials concerned, inspired 
as they must be, more or less, by considerations of policy 
or of personal reputation or of loyalty to respected collea- 
gues. It is well known that Lord Lytton acted under this 
provision when in March 1879 he partially exempted 
cotton imports from customs duty, as has been related 
above. But in that case every member of the Govern- 
ment knew in advance that the Governor General was 
only doing what the Secretary of State and the Ministry in 
power wanted him to do. Has there been any case of the 
Governor General exercising his discretion and overruling 
his Council, in which the Home authorities, originally 
indifferent, supported his action? Such a case would, for 
obvious reasons, be more instructive than Lord Lytton's to 
the student of Indian constitutional history. Looking at 
the matter from a more general point of view, Governors- 
General have been ignorant of India and its problems on 
their arrival; their members of Council, on the other hand, 
have been experienced administrators who have grown 
gray in the land and risen step by step by years of 
meritorious toil and achievment; they surround him, they 

8 There was only a slight modification: the Act of 1793 required each 
member of the Government to record the reasons for his view in every 
such case ; under the later Act this was obligatory only when desired 
by 'two members of the dissentient majority.' But one wonders whe- 
ther this change affected at all the number of dissentient minutes. A.1L 
such minutes could be called for to be laid before parliament, 



are his eyes and cars as well as hands, the arts of the 
courtier are not altogether unknown to them, nor are they 
philosophers or anchorites indifferent to the exercise and 
increase of power and influence, and it is perfectly na- 
tural for the new-comer feeling his way, to rely upon the 
judgment of these his constitutional advisers. Even 
when he has been in India sufficiently long to venture to 
steer the ship of State by his own judgment, cases of a 
serious difference of principle or of opinion between him 
and his adviser or advisers would be rare, and rarer still 
those in which the majority of them went decisively 
against him. The supreme legislature fully intended that 
this provision was to be availed of under a high sense of 
duty in very exceptional cases only, and it may be assert- 
ed with confidence that Governors-General have respected 
this intention and not resorted to it lightly or frequently. 

The Governors of Madras and Bombay were given 
executive councils in 1784, consisting of two civilians and 
the commander in chief of the army of the presidency. 
From 1793 the commander in chief came to be looked 
upon as an extraordinary member. A hundred years 
later the office was abolished and the two presidencies 
had an executive council from that date of only two mem- 
bers until an Indian member of council was added at the 
same time that an Indian member was appointed to the 
Governor-General's council. The Indian Councils Act, 
1909, gave a similar executive council to Bengal, (§ 3 (1) ), 
although it was then under a Lieutenant-Governor; and 
on the ground that the provincial legislative councils which 
that Act was creating or reforming would "throw a greater 
burden on the local Government, not only by reason of 
the actual increase of work caused by the longer sittings 
of the legislative councils, but also because there will be 
considerable responsibility in dealing with their recom- 
mendations," 9 it provided that other Lieutenant Governors 

9 Letter of the Government of India to the S. S. 1-10-190S. Bengal 
go1 Ms executive council from November 1910, 


should also have executive councils to help them. But 
the procedure it laid down was that such a council could 
be created by a proclamation of the Government of India, 
only if a draft of the proclamation lay on the table of 
parliament for sixty days during which neither House 
presented an Address to His Majesty against it (§ 3(2) ). 10 
This procedure made it impossible to obtain under this 
section an executive council for any other province. The 
Government of India Act, 1912, converted Bengal into a 
Governor's province, and provided that Behar and Orissa 
also was to have an executive council; which thereupon 
came into existence from August 1912. The Indian mem- 
bers of Council had in the meanwhile proved their worth; 
their presence enabled the administrations to know and 
interpret better "the opinions the sentiments and even 
the prejudices" of the people; while the new executive 
councils of Bengal and Behar and Orissa showed that 
that form of government had "an element of continuity 
necessarily wanting to a one-man" system. " But parlia- 
ment frustrated Lord Hardinge's attempt to give an execu- 
tive council to the U.P. as it had frustrated Lord Minto's. 
The reform had to wait until the whole system created in 
1 858 came to an end by the Government of India Act 1919. 

Ilbert: oh 3 §§ 26, 38-47, 51-54. 

J. Ramsay Macdonald: Government of India ch 4. 

§ 20 The India Council. We come last to that 
organ in the complex constitution of the supreme govern- 
ment for India which stands lowest in rank and impor- 
tance. The Act of 1858 created this Council, as we have 
seen. The Government of India Act, 1869, gave the 
power of filling vacancies in it to the Secretary of State, 
and the members were to serve for ten years instead of 
during good behaviour. If the Secretary of State wanted 

10 The procedure is repeated in the Government of India 
Act, 1915, $ 55. 

11 Lord Crewe's despatch, 30-7-1914. 


to reappoint any member at the end of the term, he 
might do so for another five years, but only 'for special 
reasons of public advantage,' and these reasons were to be 
laid by him before both houses of parliament. By the 
Council of India Reduction Act, 1889, vacancies were to 
be left unfilled until the number of members fell to ten. 
But this was repealed by the Council of India Act 1907, 
which provided that there were to be, at the discretion of 
the Secretary of State, not less than ten and not more than 
fourteen members, and that the period of service was to be 
seven years instead of ten. Nine out of the members 
were to possess the qualification of having served or re- 
sided in British India for at least ten years and not left it 
last more than five years before the date of appointment. 
As there were no other restrictions upon the choice of the 
Secretary of State, Mr. Morley ( as he then was ) appointed 
Mr. ( now Sir ) K. G. Gupta and Mr. Saiyed Husain Bil- 
grami as members in August 1907, 1 principally for two 
reasons. He had determined that the liberal promises of 
the free and impartial admission of qualified Indians to 
offices in government service given as early as 1833 and 
repeated so solemnly in 1858 were to be fulfilled without 
any further delay, and he saw clearly that the only practi- 
cal method of expediting the fulfilment was to make some 
striking appointments to the highest possible posts. '" He 
also wanted the most experienced and the best qualified 
Indian opinion to exercise an influence from inside the 
government upon the scheme of reforms then upon the 
anvil. Lastly, ten years later, with the historical announce- 
ment of the 20th August, 1917, already under considera- 
tion, and with the certainty of having to follow it up as 
soon as the Great War ended by some radical measure of 
far-reaching reform, Mr. A. Chamberlain added a third 
Indian member to the Council on the 26th June, 1917. 

1 See his 'submission' about it to the King, Recollections II p. 228. 


The Council worked by means of weekly meetings. 
The members were also appointed to committees, of 
which their were seven, but these committees could not 
by themselves decide anything. All matters relating to 
(1) the appropriation, sale, or mortgage of revenues or 
property, (2) loans and contracts, (3) alteration in salaries 
of the highest posts, and in the furlough and sick leave 
rules of all government servants, (4) regulations for dis- 
tributing between the various authorities in India the 
power of making appointments in India, and (5) the 
appointment of Indians to posts reserved to members of 
the Indian Civil Service, were to be decided by the 
majority. The Council acted as a check upon the Secre- 
tary of State throughout this period of sixty years from 
1858 to 1920, in these matters only. But even here with 
regard to the appropriation of revenues and loans the 
Council failed to safeguard the interests of India. Ex- 
penditure depends upon policy especially upon foreign 
policy, and upon the wars and military establishments it 
imposes upon a country. The British Ministry decided 
policy. Wars were entered upon by them ; the Council 
had necessarily no voice or responsibility in the decision. 
In fact the Secretary of State's orders to the Governor 
General on such matters and the latter's communications 
to the former about them, were "secret despatches," and 
these did not go before the Council at all. And when a 
war or a forward policy was once entered upon, all the 
expenditure it involved had to be provided by additional 
taxation and even by loans, if necessary. The only 
check upon the Cabinet and the Secretary of State in these 
vital matters of high policy was the provision introduced 
by Gladstone into the Act of 1858, as has been noted 
in the last chapter, that the fact of an order directing 
the actual commencement of hostilities was to be com- 
municated to parliament, and that the expenses of any 
military operation beyond the frontiers of British India 
were not to be defrayed out of Indian revenues, without 


the consent of parliament, unless it could be shown to the 
satisfaction of parliament that the operation had been forc- 
ed upon the Government of India for preventing or repel- 
ling actual invasion or under other sudden and urgent 

Again, the total strength of the army to be maintained 
in India was from time to time decided by the highest 
executive authority, that is to say, by the British Ministry 
on the advice of expert commissions. The numbers of 
the British element out of that total followed as a corol- 
lary. And the expense of obtaining, maintaining and 
equipping these numbers also followed as a further corol- 
lary. The people of India, the Government of India and 
the India Council had to accept the situation as a part of 
their fate, and provide revenues to the required amounts, 
however high, with loyal alacrity. 

Matters not requiring secrecy went before the Coun- 
cil if they were not urgent ; but if they were, the Secretary 
of State was free to dispose of them without reference to 
the Council. When placing these communications to the 
Government of India before the Council, he had only to 
add a statement specifying the reasons which led him to 
treat them as matters of urgency. Finally, the Council 
voted upon all matters which came before it at its weekly 
meetings. But the vote of the majority was binding only 
in the cases specified above. In all other cases the Secre- 
tary of State might act in accordance with the views of the 
Council, and as a matter of fact did so as a rule, but when- 
ever he chose to act differently, he was perfectly free 
to do so. 

Thus, the Council had no influence whatever on 
policy; in matters of administration not directly connect- 
ed with revenues, expenditure, and high appointments, it 
was only an advisory body; the members were the consti- 
tutional advisers of the Secretary of State selected by him 
for that purpose because of their experience and exper 


knowledge; but he was bound by their advice only in 
those matters of administrative detail specified above. 
No one can read the debates in both houses of parliament, 
from the beginning of the session in February 1858 to the 
passing of the third Government of India Bill at the end of 
July, without feeling convinced that the intention of the 
supreme legislature was to create in the India Council a 
body strong enough to safeguard the interests of the 
people of India; the Government of India was to be spurr- 
ed on by it to measures of progress, civilisation and pro- 
sperity ; the Secretary of State was to be restrained by it 
from any encroachments upon the rights of the people of 
India and their revenues. The body actually constituted 
proved, however, to be too weak and ill-constructed to 
fulfil this noble function. 

Ilbert oh 3 §§ 3-17, 30, 3M, 28, 31-3, 80, 83, 89, 90, 94-5. 



§ 21. Centralisation and Deconcentration. John 
Bright spoke of India as being "twenty nations speaking 
twenty languages." He ridiculed and he denounced the 
system by which India was governed as inherently incap- 
able of producing good results: "what would be thought/' 
he asked, "if the whole of Europe was under one Gover- 
nor who knew only the language of the Feejee Islands, 
and that his subordinates were like himself, only more 
intelligent than the inhabitants of the Feejee Islands are 
supposed to be ?" His remedy was decentralisation. He 
proposed "at least five Presidencies in India perfectly 
equal in rank. The capitals of those Presidencies would 
probably be Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Agra, and Lahore." 


Each Presidency was to be treated as a State by itself, 
"having no connection with any other part of India, and 
recognised only as a dependency of this country. The 
Government of every Presidency should correspond with 
the Secretary for India in England. I shall no doubt be 
told that there are insuperable difficulties in the way, and 
I shall be sure to hear of the military difficulty. Now, I do 
not profess to be an authority on military affairs, but I 
know that military men often make great mistakes. I 
would have the army divided, each Presidency having its 
own army; and I see no danger of any confusion or mis- 
understanding, when an emergency arose, in having them 
all brought together to carry out the views of the Govern- 
ment." ' These ideas could not prevail at the time. The 
changes thus recommended were too radical to be under- 
taken just after a cataclysm like the Mutiny, when the 
primary duty was obviously to bandage and heal the gap- 
ing wounds, remove the cause or causes immediately and 
directly responsible, and restore the old order. But 
Bright rendered a great public service all the same in 
pointing out in his own inimitable way that one of the 
cardinal vices of the old order was over-centralisation. 
British India had grown up rapidly by a process of accre- 
tion beginning originally at three nuclear points quite 
distinct from one another, Bombay, Madras and Calcutta, 
with three separate armies and three administrations, 
similar in organisation and co-equal in status. But by 
1772 the great evils inherent in such an arrangement had 
become manifest. If the East India Company was to 
prosper, if it was even to preserve what it had seized, the' 
three presidencies had to be made to follow an identical 
policy and maintain an identical attitude towards the 
princes and people of India. And the presidency of Fort 
William had outstripped the others in territory and in 
resources. It was, moreover, far safer from hostile 
attacks and combinations than the other two. The 

1 Speeches in the house, 24-6-1858 and 1-8-1859. 


Regulating Act was the first step in centralisation 
and it made Fort William the seat of the supreme 
British authority in India. Every subsequent enact- 
ment increased its supervision, direction and control of 
the sister presidencies. In the meanwhile, however, the 
presidency of Fort William itself became overburdened 
with an unwieldy mass of territories. The administration 
of the whole of Northern India and of districts in the East 
lying beyond the Indian frontier from one single centre 
and under the detailed control of a single individual was 
a physical impossibility. The first idea to suggest itself 
was to carve one presidency out of "Bengal," and make of 
it an administration like those of Bombay and Madras, 
leaving the rest of the Bengal territories under Fort 
William. But a new presidency would have been more 
expensive ; the creation of a fourth army and a fourth civil 
service would to that extent have reduced the power and 
prospects of the Bengal establishments. So decentralisa- 
tion was given up ; deconcentration was resorted to 
instead. The N. W. P. was separated from Bengal, but 
merely as an administrative unit ; at the head of it was 
placed a senior Civilian with the title of Lieutenant Go- 
vernor, whose status and powers were kept inferior to 
those of the Governors-in-Council at Madras and Bombay. 
Eighteen years later, Bengal proper was similarly made 
another distinct administrative unit, and placed under 
another Lieutenant Governor. These precedents were 
followed in later cases also. All the same, centralisation 
also went on apace, though in other ways. Railways, 
Post and Telegraphs, and Customs became great depart- 
ments under the Government of India covering the whole 
country. The supervision, direction and control of the 
presidency governments by the central went on increasing 
through Commissions and reorganisations ; cadres became 
fixed for every branch of the administration, and codes 
and regulations minutely provided for details; even the 
three armies were consolidated into one ; and by the end 


of the nineteenth century, the presidencies practically lost 
all initiative and independence. Lastly, anarchist out- 
rages began in India soon after the bubonic plague made 
its first appearance in the Bombay presidency, and in the 
measures that have had to be taken in consequence for 
the preservation of peace and order, some made possible 
by means of new legislation, others taken in virtue of powers 
which the government had possessed from an early date, 
the presidency governments have had little freedom either 
in choosing a policy of .their own or even in the executive 
application to local cases and situations of the policy for- 
ged for India as a whole by the central government. Thus 
has evolved in the course of the period from 1858 to 1920, 
a great over-centralised bureaucracy, with its chiefs reign- 
ing over the length and breadth of the land from their 
secretariat at Simla and Calcutta upto 1911, and at 
Simla and Dehli since. This is the real government of 
India in India. Governors and Governors-General have 
indeed come out to India at regular intervals, nor has there 
been any amongst them, who when starting for India was 
not inspired by some ideals and ideas and hopes and 
dreams. They have come and placed themselves at the 
head of this complex organisation for a period of about 
five years. And now and then circumstances have 
favoured a particular individual, or he has succeeded by 
native vigour in asserting himself, and there has been 
in consequence a noticeable personal touch for the time 
in the action of the gigantic machinery. Such incidents, 
however, have not been frequent, and, in any case, the 
historian summing up an era can have no hesitation in 
treating them as exceptions. He knows that such 
deflections are not at all unnatural where the entire ma- 
chinery is made up of as well as worked by human beings. 
And he feels quite confident that he is doing no substan- 
tial injustice to these exalted personages in asserting, that 
although India has throughout this period been ruled in 
their name, it has really been governed for the most part 


by the giant bureaucratic machine. And the system has 
been too strong even for the strongest of its titular heads. 
The vice of centralisation pervades it through and through 
and to an extent far greater than in 1858 when Bright first 
noted and denounced it. The only efforts in the contrary 
direction have been to set up local self-government for 
each town and district, and to hand over the administra- 
tion of certain departments-of course, to be carried out 
according to strict rules-altogether to the provincial admini- 
strations, in order that they might obtain a larger income 
at a lower cost, and thus have a surplus of their own to 
deal with as they pleased, — not, of course, absolutely at 
their own discretion, but according to rules. But the ex- 
tent and history of these efforts at deconcentration will be 
dealt with in later chapters. 

§22 Fifteen Provinces. Let us, at the cost of some 
repetition, set down in chronological order, the beginning 
of each provincial administration, and the vicissitudes of 
status it has passed through. From 1912 to 1920 British 
India has been subdivided into fifteen provinces as under: 

Three Presidencies'. Madras, Bombay and Bengal. 

Four Lieutenant-Governor ships: The United Provin* 
ces of Agra and Oudh, generally called by its short title 
U. P., the Punjab, Burma, and Behar and Orissa. 

Fight Chief-Commissionerships\ Ajmer-Merwara, 
Coorg, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Central 
Provinces or C. P., British Baluchistan, the North- West 
Frontier Province or N. W. F. P., Assam, and Dehli. 

I The Presidencies. The East India Company's 
factory at Madras was a mere agency until it was raised 
to a presidency in 1653. The island of Bombay, ceded 
by Portugal to Charles II on his marriage with the Infanta 
Catherina (1661), was handed over to the East India 
Company in 1665, and the Presidency of Bombay begins 
really from this date, although we find that the first 


"Governor of Bombay" had been appointed as early as 
1662. The "Presidency of Surat," which had begun from 
1612-3, gradually sank into a subordinate position. The 
Bengal factories began in subordination to Madras. They 
were raised into a separate presidency with the head- 
quarters at Calcutta in 1707. The Regulating Act of 1773 
(§ 9"), made Madras and Bombay subordinate to Bengal, 
and the Governor and Council at Calcutta were raised 
into the "Governor General and Council of the Presidency 
of Fort William in Bengal." The Charter Act of 1833 
(§§ 39, 41), changed the title into the present one of the 
"Governor General of India in Council." 

The present boundaries of the Madras Presidency 
practically date from the time of Lord Wellesley, when on 
the fall of the brave Tiger of Mysore during the storm of 
Shriranga-pattanam (May 4, 1799), a large portion of his 
dominions was annexed, and on the death of Umdat-ul- 
Umra, Nawab of the Karnatak ( 1801 ), his territories also 
were brought under the direct administration of the Com- 
pany. Chengalpat District had been acquired as a jagir 
in 1763, the Northern Circars had been acquired by a fir- 
man from the Mogul Emperor in 1765 and again by a 
treaty with the Nizam a little later, but full dominion over 
them was not obtained till 1823. The territory of the 
Nawab of Karnul was annexed in 1839. 

The Bombay Presidency was built up more gradually. 
Sindh was annexed in 1843, Aden in 1839, and the other 
parts of the Presidency had all become British by 1818 as 
the result of the various wars and treaties with the 

The Company obtained a clear title over the "lower 
provinces," when the Mogul Emperor granted to them the 
Diwani. Benares was annexed in 1775, Orissa and several 
districts in the north-west in 1803, and Assam, Arakan 
and Tenasserim in 1826. The Charter Act of 1833 provi- 
ded for a new Presidency of Agra to be separated from 


"Bengal." This was altered in 1835 into an authority to 
appoint a " Lieutenant-Governor of the North- Western 
Provinces" and a "Deputy Governor of Bengal." But this 
last provision was altered again by the Charter Act of 1853 
(§ 15), which authorized instead the appointment of a 
"Lieutenant Governor of Bengal." Thus there were lieu- 
tenant-governors at the head of the presidency of Bengal 
from 1854 to 1911. In area and population it was too 
extensive a charge for a single administration. But no- 
thing was done until in 1905 Lord Curzon turned it into two 
lieutenant-governorships. His arrangement, however, not 
only cut the Bengali nationality into two, but also yoked 
each of the two sections with a backward and more nume- 
rous population. The Muhammadans and Assamese were 
in a permanent majority in the new eastern province call- 
ed Eastern Bengal and Assam, and the Biharis and 
Ooriyas similarly outnumbered the Bengalis in the wes- 
tern section. Such a partition necessarily gave birth to 
an unprecedented agitation, 1 and it was given up at the 
Coronation Durbar on the 12th December 1911, when 
H. I. M. King George V announced that — 

on the advice of Our Ministers tendered after consultation with Our 
Governor General in Council, We have decided upon the transfer of the 
seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to the ancient Capital 
Dehli, and simultaneously and as a consequence of that transfer, the 
creation at as early a date as possible of a Governorship for the Pre- 
sidency of Bengal, of a new Lieutenant-Governorship in Council 
administering the areas of Behar, Chhota Nagpur and Orissa, and of a 
Chief-Commissionership of Assam, with such administrative changes 
and redistribution of boundaries as Our Governor-General in Council 
with the approval of Our Secretary of State for India in Council may in 
due course determine. 

Thus the presidency of Bengal as we know it now 
only came into existence on the 1st of April 1912. 

1 See E. S. Montagus vigorous criticism of the Curzonian partition :— 
speech at Cambridge, 28-2-1912, and speech in the house on the Govt. 
of India Bill, 22-4-1912. 


II The Lieutenant- Governor ships. The most senior 
of these is that which is now known as U. P. It was first 
constituted in 1836 under the Act of 1835 mentioned 
above. When Oudh, annexed in 1856, came to be added 
to it (1877), the original name of the "North-Western 
Provinces" was changed to the "North- Western Provinces 
of Agra and Oudh." The present name dates from 1901, 
when Lord Curzon created a new province beyond the 
Punjab called the North- West Frontier Province. 

The Punjab was annexed in 1 849 and placed by Lord 
Dalhousie under a Board of Administration. This soon 
gave place to a single Chief Commissioner. After the mutiny 
Dehli was separated from the N. W. P. and added to the 
Punjab, and the province was placed under a Lieutenant 
Governor from 1859. 

Arakan and the Tenasserim coast were annexed by 
the treaty of Yandabu (1826), Pegu and Martaban were 
annexed in 1852, and these provinces of Burma were 
formed into a Chief-Commissioner ship from 1862. Upper 
Burma was annexed in 1886, and eleven years later the 
entire Burmese territory on the eastern frontier of British 
India was constituted into the province of Burma and 
placed under a Lieutenant Governor. 

The circumstances under which the Lieutenant-Gover- 
norship of Behar and Orissa came into existence in 1912 
have already been indicated above. 

III The Chief -Commissioner ships* Whenever 
territory was conquered or otherwise acquired it was 
natural to provide for its administration by annexing it to 
one of the three presidencies. But in this way the pre- 
sidency of Bengal grew altogether unwieldy. Lord Dal- 
housie's expedient was to constitute a Board of Adminis- 
tration for each new accession of territory. And such a 
board was soon after replaced by a single head called a 
Chief Commissioner. An Act passed in 1854 expressly 
empowered the Governor General in Council with t^e 


sanction of the higher authorities in England to take any 
part of British India under his direct authority and 
management and provide for its administration in any 
suitable manner (§ 3). And the Indian Councils Act, 
1870 (§ 1), expressly refers to the heads of such provinces 
by name as Chief-Commissioners. The administrative 
organisation of this type of province in British India has 
thus a sanction in parliamentary legislation of the same 
character as the two higher types of provinces, under a 
lieutenant governor, or under a governor in council. 
Dehli was the last of these be 
constituted. The announcement at the coronation 
durbar of the transfer of the capital of British India from 
Calcutta to Dehli has been quoted above. The motive 
for the change was no mere desire for something specta- 
cular and striking to mark the unique event of H. I. M. 
the King's visit to India. Lord Hardinge's Government 
were firmly convinced that steady political progress in 
India at the pace and in the direction desired by a rapidly 
awakening people, would necessarily bring about the 
transformation of the Indian constitution at no distant 
date into a federation, the provinces becoming repre- 
sentative governments all but autonomous in provincial 
matters, and the Government of India standing a head 
and shoulders above them all, maintaining its supremacy 
as well as its impartiality unimpaired in all matters of 
pan-Indian and Imperial concern. l The emancipation of 
the Government of India from all merely provincial and 
local influences was thus a cardinal factor of their policy. 
Dehli and a few hundred square miles of territory were 

1 The Coronation Durbar Despatch, 25-8-1911; Lord Crewe's reply, 
1-11-1911. Compare also the speech of E. S. Montagu (then under-S. of 
S. for India) at Cambridge, 28-2-1912; as he says the despatch shows 
'•the general lines of our future policy in India", "the goal, the aim to- 
wards which we propose to work-not immediately, not in a hurry, but 
gradually. " 


therefore separated from the Punjab 2 and given the 
status of an independent province from the 1st 
October 1912. 

The Chief-Commissionership of N. W. F. P. arose out 
of the necessities of frontier policy. The Mohmands and 
Afridis, the Orakzais Waziris and Mahsuds, and the other 
fierce and barbarous tribes inhabiting the No-Man's Land 
on our borders from the Gomal Pass in the south to 
Kashmir in the north, crossed over into British territory 
every now and then, for loot or vendetta or mere fun. 
The unscrupulous gun-running traffic which European 
greed carried on more or less surreptitiously with Muscat 
and other places on the Oman and Mekran coasts, gave 
them a plentiful supply of modern arms and ammunition. 
The annexation policy of the Forward School might have 
provided a permanent cure for this evil, only, it was too 
costly a policy for any responsible government to adopt. 
On the other hand, the Masterly Inactivity Policy of the 
other school of frontier experts could not possibly be 
always adhered to, in the face of repeated affronts and 
raids. Every now and then, moreover, the entire frontier 
would be in a blaze, and a government that really wanted 
nothing better than to concentrate itself on problems of 
famine and plague, railways and irrigation, education and 
internal development, and had no earth-hunger or blood- 
thirst whatever, would still be driven to leave all aside for 
the moment, and undertake a large scale expedition. 
This compromise between the two policies just mentioned, 
came to be known as the Hit and Retire Policy. The 
tribes would be bled more or less profusely every now 
and then, all their arms would be seized, and peace would 
be reestablished on the frontier for a time. But only for 
a time. The plucky barbarians recovered with amazing 
rapidity, and the whole series of incidents and events 

2 The area taken from the Punjab— 528 sq. m.; from the U. P % 
45 sq. m. 


would begin once more and march on again to the inevit- 
able catastrophe of another punitive expedition on a 
large scale. How to escape this round, is one of the 
most urgent problems of British Indian high policy. The 
Chitral (1895) and Tirah (1897) expeditions, especially, 
necessitated a departure on fresh lines, if only as an ex- 
periment. The frontier districts were separated from 
the Punjab and constituted into the N. W. F. P. (.1901), 
and a policy of economic penetration by irrigation, light 
railways and the expansion of trade has been steadily 
pursued. "Production without possession, action without 
self-assertion, development without domination," 3 until 
the savage outgrows his savagery, is indeed a panacea for 
all intercourse between people in different stages of 
civilisation, provided only that the people believing itself 
higher in civilisation was capable of practising the princi- 
ple steadily with absolute sincerity and selflessness. 

The remaining Chief-Commissionerships need not 
detain us long. They were merely the outcome of con- 
quests or acquisitions of territory in other ways. When- 
ever any new territory could not be conveniently attached 
for administrative purposes to one of the presidencies or 
lieutenant-governorships, it was natural to provide for it 
as a chief-commissionership by itself. Thus Ajmer-Merw- 
ara was constituted in 1818, Coorginl834,the Andaman and 
Nicobar Islands in 1858, and British Baluchistan in 1887. 
Assam, annexed in 1826, was separated as a chief-commi- 
ssionership from 1 874. At Lord Curzon's partition ( 1 905 ), 
it was merged in his eastern province. But, as has been 
noted above, it became a chief-commissionership again 
from 1912. Lastly, C. P. includes contiguous territories 
annexed in 1818 and 1854, with two districts added from 
the N. W. P. in 1861, when it was raised to the status of 
a chief-commissionership; and Berar — under British ad- 
ministration since 1853, but as a separate unit — has been 
attached to it from 1903. 

3 This is one of the aphorisms of Lao. Tzu, the Chinese philosopher 



Some of the minor Chief-Commissioners have other 
duties also. Thus the C-C, N. W. F. P., is also Agent 
to the Governor-General ( A. G. G. ) for political relations 
with the frontier tribes between British India and Afghanis- 
tan. The C.-C, Ajmer-Merwara, is also A. G.G. for Raj- 
putana. The C.-C, British Baluchistan, is also A. G. G. 
for Baluchistan. The C.-C, Coorg, is also the Resident 
at Mysore. And the C.-C, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 
is also Superintendent of the penal settlement at Port Blair. 

§ 23 Area and Population. In the annexed Table opposite 
the provinces with a population under one million are not 
entered. On the other hand, the Native States with a 
population of one million or more are entered. And as 
statistical comparisons are often paraded between India or 
some Indian province and some other country, the right 
half of the Table gives the area and population of the 
principal members of the British Empire and of some other 
prominent countries and empires. 

§ 24 Governors, Lt. — Gs., C.-Cs. As Governors- 
General and Governors have been chosen persons of high 
rank and some experience of public life, either in parlia- 
ment or in the diplomatic or colonial service of the 
Crown. Out of the fourteen Governors-General from 
Canning to Chelmsford Sir John Lawrence alone had pre- 
vious Indian experience as a civilian who had risen rapid- 
ly to the highest posts. There have been more Indian 
civilians and soldiers as Governors at Madras and Bombay; 
but none out of that class has been appointed even as a 
Governor for the last forty years. The Lieutenant- 
Governors and Chief-Commissioners, on the other hand, 
have all been Indian civilians. Their appointment is not- 
like that of a Governor General, Governor, or member of 
the executive council-by warrant under the Royal Sign 
Manual. Even the Lieutenant-Governors do not corres- 
pond with the Secretary of State, and the Chief-Commis- 
sioners are merely agents of the Governor General. It 


in 000000 

U. P. 



45'5 . 



Behar and Orissa 

34*5 . 

Punjab inolg. Delhi 



197 . 

C. P. and Berar 





67 . 

N. W. F. P. 

2'2 . 

British India 

... 244-3 . 


... 313'55 . 

Muhammadans in India 

66-65 . 

Native States 

69-25 .. 


13-4 .. 


5-8 .. 


34 .. 


316 .. 


3-i .. 


2-6 • . 


2'06 .. 


2-03 .. 


1*5 .. 


1"4 .. 


13 .. 



Area in 
000 sq. 






29 5 








in 000000 



United Kingdom 

45-4 ... 






6t ... 



Union of S. Africa 


Australian Comm. 



1-6 ... 

New Zealand 

11 ... 

Br. Emp. : White Popln. 

60 ft ... 

Br. Emp. : Grand Total 

440 ■ ... 

Br. Emp. : Muhammadans 

80-51-1- ... 

Muhammadans in the World 300t ... 

United States 

93-4 ... 

Philippine Isles 




Jap. Empire 

' 74 -.... 


39-6 ... 

French Empire 

80-6 ... 


34-7 ... 

Italian Empire 


The Netherlands 


Dutch Empire 

54-4' ... 

China Proper . ... 

300t ... 


5t ... 

Area in 
000 sq. 




250 1' 














t These figures are 
only estimates. 

ft For these see L. 
Curtis : Commonwealth 
of Nations, Part I. The 
total for Muhammadans 
in the Br. Empire does 
not include the African 
Muhammadans inNigeria, 
East Africa, Gold Coast, 

The Indian figures are 
from the fifth Decl. Re- 
port on Moral and Mate- 
rial Progress and Condi- 
tion, 1913, embodying the 
population figures of the 
1911 Census. 

The rest are pre-War 
population and area figur- 
es, as near to 1911 as 

Ind, Admn. to Dawn of Responsible Govt. ; to fac< 

p. 114. 


was only by the Government of India Act, 1915 and 1916, 
that Chief-Commissioner ships obtained the status of local 
governments (§ 134), although, as a matter of fact, C. P. 
and Berar is a province quite as important as a Gover- 
nor's, while the Chief Commissioner of Assam is hardly 
inferior to a Lieutenant Governor. But these distinctions, 
petty and anomalous at first sight, wear, perhaps, a new 
aspect when we look at the matter historically. We have 
seen that British India grew up by accretion from three 
nuclear points. A district on annexation would be more 
or less unsettled. Its administration would have to be, 
for some time at least, of a semi-military character, and 
entrusted to energetic individuals armed with plenty of 
discretion, who must decide quickly and be content with 
maintaining order and enforcing a rough and ready kind 
of justice. Local ways and customs, which the people 
understood and were attached to, must also be allowed to 
continue in force, in so far as they were not clearly 
against fundamental principles of humanity or public 
policy. Out of these obvious needs arose what came to 
be known as the Non-Regulation system of administration 
with the Chief Commissioner at its head. As the territory 
settled down, it became a fresh nuclear point, annexations 
in the vicinity would be added to it, and while these must 
for a time be subjected to the non-regulation system, the 
older and more settled districts would be advanced to 
"regulation" status, and the whole placed under a Lieut- 
enant Governor. The three presidencies had come to be 
called 'Regulation Provinces', because, upto the Charter 
Act of 1833 whatever laws were wanted had been issued 
as Regulations of the president in council. } This power 
of legislation by regulations was continued even after the 
single law member of Council (1833) developed into one 
or more legislative councils. But these regulations were 
ex hypothesi too elaborate and advanced to be applied to 

1 Governor General in Council, for Fort William, Governor in 
Council for Madras and Bombay. 


new annexations, and, instead, very much simpler instru- 
ctions coloured to a large extent by local variations were 
drawn up for the guidance of the district officers. The 
first districts to be actually called 'non-regulation', were 
the Saugor and Narmada territories, annexed in 1818; and 
the name and the system were thenceforward applied to 
every new annexation until it settled down and was 
brought under the higher type of administration by laws 
and regulations. 2 Other peculiarities of the non-regulation 
system were necessarily connected with the one that gave 
to it its name. The deputy commissioner at the head of 
each district held all the reins of power and administration, 
military, executive, judicial, revenue, police, excise and 
customs, public works, and even education-in his single 
hand; military officers were freely employed as deputy 
commissioners and in other civil capacities; and in the 
subordinate services the separation of departments or 
even of the judicial duties from others was not carried to 
the same extent as in the regulation provinces, 

Ilbcrt ch 3 §§ 37, 49, 55-6; ch 2 pp 141-2. 

§ 25 Districts and Divisions: Administrative De- 
partments, The unit of administration in British India is 
the district. Several contiguous districts are combined 
together to form a division, and, on the other hand, large 
districts are subdivided for administrative convenience 
into taluks, tahsils, or mamlats. There are nearly two 
hundred and seventy districts in British India. In the 
Bombay Presidency, Bombay City and Aden 1 are not sub- 
divided; each of them may be called a division by itself. Of 
the fifteen provinces the three smallest — Coorg, Andamans 
and Nicobars, and Dehli — are not subdivided. In Madras 

% Chesney pp, 57-9, 63-4, 67-9. Dalhousie ( Rulers of India Series ) 
pp. 184-9. See also Temple, Men and Events, chs. 4 & 5; a bright account 
sufficiently brief of the non-regulation administration of the Punjab by 
the Lawrence brothers, the best concrete illustration of the system. 

1 Transferred to the British Foreign Office, 191§, 


the districts are not grouped together into divisions. In 
Bengal there are no subdivisions of a district smaller than 
the sub-district. 

Many of the districts have the advantage of being 
geographical, economic, linguistic, ethnic, and historical 
as well as administrative units ; but of course there also 
are, as there must be in a vast territory like British India, 
not a few districts which have been artificially created into 
administrative units, merely from considerations of conve- 
nience. And the arrangement arose primarily in response 
to the administrative needs in connection with the collec- 
tion of land revenue, the preservation of internal order 
and the judicial settlement of claims and disputes. These 
are the three primary Departments^ which the government 
of a mainly agricultural country must organise more or 
less efficiently ; its revenue collectors and land surveyors, 
its police officers and its judges must be distributed all 
over the country, having their headquarters amongst the 
people in convenient centres, from which they could tour 
about each in his beat, or to which the people from the 
surrounding area could easily resort. And these central 
capital towns with their district areas once established, if 
the government undertakes other functions which it 
desires to perform steadily, systematically and uniformly 
for the entire population, the new departments thus aris- 
ing also follow the same pattern, as far as possible. But, 
obviously, it is not at all possible for some departments. 
The income from land revenue and trom such properties 
as the State possesses is rarely enough to meet all needs; 
one of the easiest modes of supplementing it is to tax 
imports and exports; and this function has to be perform- 
ed at the frontiers, as the goods are entering into or leav- 
ing the country. The customs officers must thus be 
located at the frontiers of the State and in direct subordi- 
nation to the central executive. Railways and posts and 
telegraphs are other departments which it is better to 
direct and control centrally. For although the operations 


of the first penetrate into many districts and those of the 
second into all, they are, so to speak, so elementary and 
simple*in character, the efficiency and economy of their 
administration gains by direction and control from one 
centre and does not suffer at all by mere distance from 
that centre, however great. The departments of Forests, 
Irrigation works, and ordinary Public Works stand on a 
different footing. Forest areas are not equally distributed 
throughout the land, nor are irrigation facilities. A province 
may have so little of either that it would be unnecessary 
to divide the work into many divisional charges or to sub- 
divide every one of the latter into district charges. In 
these cases both the divisional aud district charges would 
have to be fewer in number and larger in area than the 
divisions and districts of the other departments. Or the 
work of either department, but not of both, may be as heavy 
almost in every district as that of the ordinary department; 
thus, Burma is a forest province, while the Punjab is a 
province of canals. Or, thirdly, the irrigation work in an 
entire province or in any large portion of it may be com- 
paratively less exacting, and in such cases it could be 
entrusted as an additional duty to officers of the ordinary 
public works department, which exists in every province 
and is organised by way of divisional and district charges, 
generally coinciding with the districts and divisions of the 
revenue department. 2 Education and Medical and Sani- 
tary Administration are other important departments 
which adhere to the district and division arrangement in 
their organisation. Thus a model district in British India, 
would have revenue, judicial, police, medical, educational 
and engineering officers stationed and working in it under 
the supervision of the higher divisional officers and the 
highest provincial authorities. It would also have post and 
telegraph officers working under the supervision of the 

2 In N. W. F. P. and British Baluchistan military public works 
preponderate, and the civil public works are entrusted to the military 
works officers. 


Government of India officers of the department, and it 
might or might not have residing and working iu it 
officers of the Railway, Forest, Customs, Army, and other 
departments, according to circumstances. 

§ 26 The Services. Indian youth of the literary 
castes took to English education with a will the moment 
it was introduced and the numbers with a fair knowledge 
of the language and literature of the rulers as well as of 
modern subjects acquired through that medium increased 
rapidly. The wonderful application aud receptivity of the 
students acted upon the teachers and upon the administra- 
tors and promoters, and both the quality of the instruction 
provided and the solidity and excellence of the attain- 
ments acquired, at least in some subjects, went on improv- 
ing at a rapid pace. As Sir Henry Maine remarked of 
this first generation of Indians who had surrendered them- 
selves body, mind, heart, and soul to the influences of 
Western culture in the true spirit of Eastern discipleship, 
"the thing must be seen to be believed. I do not know 
which was the more astonishing, more striking — the 
multitude of the students, who if not now, will soon be 
counted not by the hundred but by the thousand; or the 
keenness and eagerness which they displayed. For my 
part, I do not think anything of the kind has been seen 
by any European University since the Middle Ages." 1 
The employment of qualified Indians in government ser 
vice in posts of comparitively superior responsibility and 
emoluments began with Bentinck. Hardinge placed the 
action of the administration upon a definite principle. 
"The Governor General having taken into consideration 
the existing state of education in Bengal, and being of 
opinion that it is highly desirable to afford it every 
reasonable encouragement by holding out to those who 
have taken advantage of the opportunities afforded them 
a fair prospect of employment in the Public Service and 

1 At the convocation of the Calcutta University, 1866. 


thereby not only to reward individual merit, but to enable 
the State to profit as largely and as early as possible by 
the result of the measures adopted of late'years for the 
instruction of the people, as well by Government as by 
private individuals and Societies, has resolved that in 
every possible case a preference shall be given in the 
selection of candidates for public employment to those 
who have been educated in the institutions thus 
established, and especially to those who have 
distinguished themselves therein by a more than 
ordinary degree of merit and attainment." 2 And to raise 
the quality of the education as high as possible in all 
directions and to standardise it the establishment of a 
University was proposed as early as 1845. 3 Sir Charles 
Wood's despatch of 1854 and the foundation of the pre- 
sidential Universities followed in due course. As the 
departments indicated in the preceeding section came to 
be started extended and progressively improved, the 
forecast of the Directors in 1834, quoted on a previous 
page, that "practically, perhaps, no very marked difference 
of results will be occasioned," ceased to apply. The 
number of Indians in government employment increased 
and they came to be appointed by promotion or by direct 
selection as tahsildars (mamlatdars) and deputy assistant 
collectors (extra assistant commissioners), fojdars and 
inspectors, munsiffs and subordinate judges, engineers, dis- 
trict forest officers, headmasters, deputy inspectors and lect- 
urers, and to equivalent grades in almost all the depart- 
ments. Gratitude, it has been said, is appreciation of 
benefits small and great, actually received; loyalty, the 
anticipation of substantial benefits to come; nor is the 

2 Resolution of the 10th October, 1844. 

3 By Mr. C. H. Cameron, President, Council of Education, Calcutta. 
His proposal is dated the 25th October. Extracts from it and from the 
opinions on the subject recorded by the Select Committees of the Lords 
and the Commons, 1852-3, will be found in Saiyed Mahmud, History 
of English Edtn. in India, 1181-1893, ch 16. See also H. R. James Edtn. 
and Statesmanship in India, 1797-1910, ch. 6. 


philosophical analysis presenting these results to be 
altogether condemned as presenting too mean or one-sided 
a view of human nature. It all depends upon the cha- 
racter of the benefits contemplated. These need not 
always be of a purely materialistic type. To seek to 
elevate one's mother country to a high level of prosperity 
and civilisation; to look upon the decision of stricken 
fields as the judgment of over-ruling Providence, to grasp 
fully and firmly both the halves of this double concept of a 
Divine Judgment— as a deserved punishment to us for 
our sins, as our Karma (^H), and as a no less deserved re- 
ward to the victors; as their Karma; to judge the para- 
mount power and its agents by the best actions and the 
best thoughts and aspirations of their best representatives ; 
to accept their professions about working for the prosperi- 
ty and civilisation of this country as genuine, nay, 
as inspired, and as doing them infinite credit ; to 
accept their diagnosis of our downfall, at least as a work- 
ing hypothesis; to exhibit the cosmopolitan fraternality 
(^*ir ) and wide toleration of Hindu culture at its best 
by refusing to misunderstand even the excesses of prosely- 
tising zeal; to accept the missionaries in spite of their 
narrowness and prejudices as sincere and active friends 
and as helpful checks upon the greed, cruelty and asser- 
tiveness natural to politicians and soldiers armed with 
unlimited power in a land bleeding and prostrate; know- 
ing that half-hearted service was worse than none and 
that sullen non-cooperation was worse than disloyalty 
open, active and manly, to serve every representative of 
the ruling power fully and faithfully in any and every 
capacity, however servile; and, finally, to apply them- 
selves with all their might to English education and 
social reform, the purification of religion from superstitions 
and from corruptions, the removal of caste and local 
prejudices and limitations, the creation of a public 
opinion on public questions, and the training up of the 
people in the adoption of constitutional methods for the 


removal of grievances and the progressive improvement of 
their position from the status of conquered subjects to 
that of equal citizens: these were the ideas which animat- 
ed the best Indians of that generation: these were the 
ideas which enabled them to sow the seeds of Modern 
India. The motives and actions sprouting up out of a 
thought-bed of this description cannot be classed as 
mean or self-centred or materialistic or servile or denation- 
alised. To suppose that these men, our grandfathers, 
merely pocketed their higher salaries and fees, that they 
merely caught the vices and rudeness of the unwashed 
sections of Anglo-Saxon humanity, that they merely 
learned from the foreign tyrants above them how to 
tyrannise more oppressively over their own countrymen 
below them, and to question either their warm sentiments 
of loyalty to the British Raj, or the strong bonds of 
sympathy that grew up between them and the best of the 
local representatives of that Raj, is to be altogether blind 
to recorded history, or to discolour it most unjustifiably 
by the violent prejudices and passions of to-day. 

Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Lord William Bentinck and 
their contemporaries created a tradition of mutual sym- 
pathy between England and India which passed on as a 
legacy to the next generation. The excesses of the Mutiny 
months, excesses quite as inhuman on one side as on the 
other, gave it a rude shock. But the almost uniformly 
firm and noble behaviour throughout that extremely try- 
ing period of a few men in the highest positions, like Lord 
Canning, made it easy for India to forget and to forgive ; 
and the hand of fellowship so graciously extended by 
England's Queen, a lady whose every word proclaimed her 
a woman pious, humane, loving, and loyal to her own 
conception of her duty, was eagerly and most gratefully 
and humbly clasped by all India. The first occasion for 
suspicion and disquietude arose soon after. The Indian 
Civil Service Act, 1861, made the covenanted service a 
close service and enumerated the highest civil appoint- 


meats below the rank of members of the executive council 
and upto the grade of assistant collectors in the regulated 
provinces, as reserved for those only who were successful 
in the open competitive examinations held annually in 
England under such rules and regulations, as were drawn 
up by the examination commissioners, approved by the 
Secretary of State in Council, and not disallowed by parlia- 
ment. The men selected were placed on a list in order of 
merit ; they were to stay on a year in England studying 
Indian subjects and were encouraged to spend the period 
at a university; then they were examined in these subjects 
and arranged in a final list according to merit. The Secre- 
tary of State in Council ceased to have anything to do 
with their appointment to particular posts or places in 
India. The selection being made on the result of an open 
examination, and the subsequent posting and promotions 
being left to Indian authorities, patronage, jobbery, and 
political or party bias of every kind were completely ex- 
cluded. The subjects for examination, the standard for 
each, the age limits, and other conditions were so arranged 
and altered from time to time, as to secure "men who had 
received the best, the most liberal, the most finished 
education" 4 available in England. And not satisfied with 
the express provision that the scheduled posts were reser- 
ved for these 'competition-walahs', parliament also provid- 
ed that if under exceptional circumstances the authorities 
in India had to give any of these posts to an outsider, the 
appointment could only be a temporary one, the India 
Office were to be informed about it at once, and if they 
did not approve of it within twelve months, it was to be 
taken as cancelled ( § § 2-3 ). Thus' on the one hand the 
highest legislative authority had ordered that no Indian 
was to be excluded from any government post in India by 
reason only of his being an Indian, and, on the other hand, 
as soon as the educational qualifications possible to 
Indians in India, began to approach English university 

4 Strachey, ch. 6. 


levels, the same authority ordered again that assistant 
collectorships, assistant sessions judgeships, and higher 
posts were strictly reserved for those only who competed 
within rigid age limits and against the best talent of 
English universities. This was, as some of the best 
English statesmen and administrators themselves felt, 
'evasion,' 'cheating,' 'stultifying the Act and reducing it 
to a dead letter/ 'breaking to the heart the words of pro- 
mise uttered to the ear'. s The only real remedy was to 
repeal these sections of the Act of' 1861, tear up the 
schedule, and hold the competitive examination in India 
alone or rather in India as well as in England. And if 
this last course had been adopted, the progress of the 
Indian universities would have been accelerated from 
that moment, and they would have become in a short 
decade or two amongst the best universities in the world, 
so that it would have ceased to be necessary to import 
many experts into India from outside. The industrial 
and economic progress of India would also have been 
accelerated to an incalculable extent. This course how- 
ever was not adopted. The practical effect of the steps 
actually taken was that, as India realised more and more 
fully the determination of England not to move in this 
matter beyond a certain point, she felt that the generous 
promise of the Charter Act and the Queen's proclamation 
had been torn up instead. This sore feeling did not re- 
main unnoticed; and remedies were attempted. The first 
was the Government of India Act, 1870, 6 which recognised 

5 The expressions quoted were actually used by Lord Lytton in a 
note on a confidential despatch of the Government of India to the 
Secretary of State, May 30, 1878. 

6 The East India Associations, founded by Dadabhai Naoroji in 
England, with affiliated branches and associations in India had presented 
a memorial to the Secretary of State on the subject in 1867, asking for 
simultaneous examinations and for scholarships to promising young 
Indians to enable them to obtain the highest education in England. In 
1868 Mr. Fawcett had moved a resolution in the Commons for simultane- 
ous examinations at London, Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The first 
Gladstone Government had come into power, December 1868, with the 
Duke of Argyll as Secretary of State for India, 


the expediency of providing "additional facilities for the 
employment of natives of proved merit and ability" in 
T3ome of the posts reserved for the covenanted service, 
subject to rules framed by the Governor General in Coun- 
cil and sanctioned by the Secretary of State in Council. 
The rules were made by the Government of India, after 
repeated pressure from the Secretary of State, in 1879, 
and thus came into existence the Statutory Civil Service, 
appointments to which were made for ten years. The ex- 
periment proved ill-starred. It could not satisfy Indian 
public opinion; the C. S. treated it as a poor relation is 
usually treated by the upstart rich ; the men appointed 
were themselves too few and heterogeneous and scattered, 
nor had the service sufficient: time given to it to develop a 
tradition and an esprit de corps. A fresh start was made 
on different lines. The Government of India appointed a 
Public Service Commission in 1886 with Sir Charles 
Aitchison as president. The result was that Government 
service was split up in most departments into Imperial, 
Provincial, and Subordinate: and recruitment to the first 
of these was to be through examinations in England, from 
the most important of which Indians were excluded either 
by a racial bar, or almost excluded practically by the 
rules and regulations under which they were held. 7 

7 To the examination for the superior posts in the Police Depart- 
ment held in England from 1894, no one was admitted except British 
subjects of European descent. Cooper's Hill College was established in 
England, and from 1872 to 1906 men came out from it to fill the higher 
appointments in the Public Works, Forest, and allied departments. 
India paid the net annual cost of the institution. Yet Indians who 
could not lay claim to European desceDt had difficulty in obtaining ad- 
mission, and of the total annually selected from it for service in India, 
the number of Indians was not to exceed a small percentage. Besides, 
because Cooper's Hill supplied so many, and so many of the other higher 
posts were to be filled by Royal Engineers, and still others were treated 
as merely temporary posts outside the cadre, which were filled by Euro- 
peans and Anglo-Indians selected locally; only a very small number fell 
annually to the share of the Colleges at Rurki, Bombay, Sibpur, and 

ee page 1?6) 


This system came into force from 1895 and has been 
maintained since to the end of the period under review. 
The justification advanced for it on behalf of the privileg. 
ed services by themselves and their admirers, amongst 
whom might be included more than one Governor General, 
has been briefly noted already in an earlier section. But 
perhaps it would be better to give it here in the words of 
one of themselves. "Let there be no hypocrasy," writes 
Strachey, "about our intention to keep in the hands of 
our own people those executive posts-and there are not 
very many of them, — on which, and on our political and 
military power, our actual hold of the country depends. "*■ 
Secondly, "although this system [of competitive examina- 
tions] has, on the whole, worked well with Englishmen, it 
is open even with them to objections and drawbacks, and 
to think of applying it to the natives of India is nothing 
less than absurd. Not the least important part of the 
competitive examination of the young Englishman was 
passed for him by his forefathers who, as we have a right 
to assume, have transmitted to him not only their physi- 
cal courage, but the powers of independent judgment, the 
decision of character, the habits of thought, and generally 
those qualities that are necessary for the government of 
men, and which has given us our empire." 9 Thirdly, 
"I must not say this of Englishmen only, for it is also, in 
a great measure, true of the more vigorous races of India, 
although their time has not come for competitive examina- 

( Conoluded from 125 ) 
Madras. The age limit for the I. C. S. was reduced in 1876 from 21 to 19; 
this change materially reduced the chances of success of competitors 
from India. The age limit for the I. M. S. was 27, which was too high for 
Indians. One reason why young Indians going to England for education 
came back to India intensely discontented and with their faith in 
British justice almost shattered, was that all such facts relating to 
every Government department were constantly brought before their 
eyes by their Indian fellow students in England from all parts of India, 
pursuing various lines of study. 

8 p. 547. 

9 p. 544. 


tions." I0 "To suppose that the manlier races of India 
could ever be governed through the feebler foreigners of 
another Indian ceuntry, however intellectually acute, — 
that Sikhs and Pathans, for instance, should submit to be 
ruled by Bengalis — is to suppose an absurdity." ]1 And, 
fourthly, the peace established in India is the English 
peace. "The English in India are the representatives of 
peace compelled by force. The Muhammadans would 
like to propose to every one the alternative between the 
Koran, the tribute, and the sword. The Hindus would 
like to prevent a low-caste man from trying or even testi- 
fying against a Brahman; and Muhmammadans, and Hindus 
and Sikhs would all alike wish to settle their old 
accounts and see who is master. No country in the 
world is more orderly, more quiet, or more peaceful than 
British India as it is; but if the vigour of the Government 
should ever be relaxed, if it should lose its essential unity 
of purpose, and fall into hands either weak or unfaithful, 
chaos would come again like a flood." u 

Even while Sir John Strachey, Sir James Stephen and 
their autocratic fraternity were piecing together this de- 
fence of a system that was to them as the breath of their 
nostrils, the system itself was being profoundly altered by 
forces which could not be foreseen, still less counter-acted. 
We will go into that in a moment. Let us first complete 
our account, of these services from the district and divi- 
sional authorities upwards to the provincial executives at 
the summit. These higher grades were filled exclusively 
by the corps d'elite. The young Englishmen selected 
from the institutions and by the methods indicated above 
were first posted as assistant collectors, assistant sessions 
judges, assistant superintendents of police, civil surgeons^ 

10 545. 

11 p. 548. 

12 P. 557. This is a quotation from Sir James Stephen with 
which Strachey concludos his book. I transcribe it condensed. 


assistant district engineers, headmasters, and to similar 
appointments in all the other departments, and rose step by 
step each in his department. Almost every one rose some 
steps. The best rose continuously until they ended at 
the top of the tree, the revenue men as members of coun- 
cil, or chief commissioners, or lieutenant governors, a few 
of them even becoming on their retirement, members of 
the Secretary of State's council, or — the luckiest of them, 
governors at Madras or Bombay. Now, the intermediate 
grades of this official ladder of honour and advancement 
may be skipped. It would be sufficient for our purpose 
to attempt a brief statement about the provincial Secre- 
tariats and Heads of Departments, and, moreover, 
to confine it to the nine larger provinces only ; Dehli, 
Ajmer-Merwara, Andaman and Nicobars, and Coorg are 
too small to offer a scope for any elaborate administrative 
structure ; British Baluchistan and N. W. F. P. have been 
and will long remain frontier provinces, where the ruder 
non-regulation system of administration must not be re- 
formed in a hurry. They are out-posts, rather than in- 
tegral parts of India. Assam has a secretariat of three 
persons, one being the secretary for the Public Works ; an 
Inspector-General of Registration and a Director of Land 
Records and Agriculture are at the head of the revenue 
department ; an Inspector General is at the head of the 
police department ; a Sanitary Commissioner at the head 
of the medical and sanitary ; a Director of Public Instruc- 
tion is at the head of education ; and there also are a Senior 
Inspector of Factories and a Legal Remembrancer. The 
other provinces also have Directors of Public Instruction 
and Inspectors-General of police; and Legal Remembran- 
cers, though these officers are not known everywhere by 
the same title. But in all the other arrangements there are 
variations. The Medical and Sanitary Department is 
under two men in some provinces but under three in the 
majority, who are styled, Inspector General of Prisons, 
Sanitary Commissioner, and Inspector General of Civil 


Hospitals or Surgeon General. The Public Works Depart- 
ment is under two men, called Secretaries to Government 
in the P. W. D., or Secretaries and Joint Secretaries, or 
Secretaries and Under-Secretaries; everywhere they are 
both working heads and members of the secretariat; or for 
sections of their work which are directed and controlled 
from the central government, e.g. Railways, they have the 
same ambiguous position with reference to their provin- 
cial governments and secretariats, that the Railway Board 
has with reference to the central government and secre- 
tariat. The Punjab has three public works secretaries, 
two being required there for Irrigation. The greatest 
variations are to be found with reference to the land 
revenue, survey, customs, salt, opium, and excise depart- 
ments. We find Directors of Agriculture, Settlement 
Commissioners, Financial Commissioners, Directors of Land 
Records, Commissioners of Customs, Salt, Opium, and 
Excise, Registrars, and Members of the Board of Revenue. 
The offices are variously combined and no province has 
all these ten men. Bombay, has four, one for customs, 
one for salt, opium, and excise, and two for the land 
revenue. Madras, not having divisional commissioners at 
all, has seven men, four of them forming a Board of Re- 
venue. Bengal and Behar and Orissa have Boards of 
Revenue of only one member each, and, respectively, only 
three and two other officers who divide the rest of the 
work between them. U. P. has two members of the Board 
of Revenue, C. P. has a Registrar and a Financial Com- 
missioner, and two other officers ; but the U. P. also has 
six Registrars. Burma and the Punjab have a single 
Registrar, and four other officers. Lastly, we come to the 
provincial secretariats. The members are called Chief 
Secretaries, Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries or Under- 
Secretaries. And, omitting the Public Works Secretaries, 
the numbers vary from two in Burma, to five in Bengal 
and C. P., four in Bombay, and three elsewhere. 


Throughout this official hierarchy, from the district 
upto and including the executive council, the I. C. S. man 
is the recognised leader and uncrowned king; he is the 
guru (35) whom they all look up to: it is his to tackle 
problems, read situations, plan policies, solve difficulties ; 
he is the paterfamilias, the dadaji ( ^isfi ) or ajoba 
( 3H^fai ), 13 whose slightest look or gesture, whim or failing 
are noted by the members of the family ; he is to be kept 
informed about every thing, fully, truthfully, and in good 
time ; not a pie can be spent, not a man can be employed, 
not a suggestion can be offered to the higher authorities, 
nor can any discretion be exercised in carrying out their 
orders, without reference to him. The vigour and effici- 
ency, the intelligence and foresight, the tone and sympathy, 
the popularity and driving power of the administration — 
such as they are from time to time — are derived ultimately 
from him. The I. C. S. men are the brains and the will 
power of the bureaucracy; the I. C. S. men are the govern- 
ment in India. The Secretaries of State, Viceroys and 
Governors are but short-time figureheads ; they come and 
they go; it is the I. C. S. men who go on for ever. 

§ 27 From generation to generation. The improve- 
ment of the civil service by Cornwallis and Wellesley and 
the foundation of the Haileybury College have been 
mentioned in an earlier chapter. The closing of the 
College and the beginning of the competitive examinations 
have also been noted. The men who came out to India 
during the first half of the nineteenth century may be 
called the first generation of our rulers. The first genera- 
tion of the competition- walahs may be taken to end at 
about 1880 ; this for our purposes is the second generation. 
The third generation came to an end about 1910, with the 
introduction of the Morley reforms. And we are now in 
the middle of the fourth generation. 

13 Grandfather. 


The first generation were the road-makers and the bridge- 
builders; superstitions and abominations like thugce and sati 
and human sacrifices at flood-time and harvest and female 
infanticide they discovered to be rampant; and they pur- 
sued them with the energy of a righteously militant civil- 
isation fighting barbarism.. 1 They created the land-revenue 
and the judicial systems!, and knew the people of their 
district in their various social grades as thoroughly as it is 
possible for foreigners ever to acquire such knowledge. 
They were lonely men separated from one another, with 
little of Europe in their bungalows and their tents. They 
were exiles in the full sense of the term, but exiles with 
absorbing occupations which evoked every ounce of faculty 
and required every second of time, and they lived dedica- 
ted lives. If the roots of British rule have gone deep into 
the soil of India, if mediaevalism be really going to be 
uprooted hence and to make room for the upgrowth of 
modernity to a long and vigorous prime, it is they who 
have created the miracle, their husbandry, their faith, and 
their devotion. The Stracheys and the Stephens are per- 
fectly justified in their contention to this extent, that but 
for this first generation modern British India could never 
have blossomed forth. 

The second generation saw the cutting of the Suez 
Canal and the replacement of the sailing vessel by the 
steamer, and with these began the invasion of India b5>" 
the memsab. There were of course Englishwomen in 
India almost from the first, but there were hardly any 
European homes except at the capitals and the big mili- 
tary cantonments, prior to the sixties of the nineteenth 
century. And gymkhanas and clubs now invaded trie 
mofnssil as well as European homes. The spread of the 
railwavs tended more and more to bridge the chasm that 
in the past had separated the mofussii and the capital, and 
the vogue began of hill stations and of long and frequent 
furloughs. Codes came to be drawn up, departments 

1 See for a brief account of all this noble work-S. W. Kaye, Admi- 
nistration. E. I. Co. (1853), Part IV. ch 2, 3, 4 and 5. 


grew up fast, secretariats directed all and wanted to 
know more than all. The individual was dwarfed, the 
system throve. The individual was very probably much 
better educated than in the former generation : but it is 
certain that his own development through his work and 
surroundings failed to reach the heights that had been 
then attained. For a change had come over the spirit of 
his devotion to his work. Because of the more frequent 
and quicker intercourse with the outside world, and be- 
cause of the European homes and clubs he and his wife 
had set up, his life was fuller and more civilised than had 
till then been possible in India. But his discontent with 
it was the more poignant. The exiles, his predecessors, 
who were exiles indeed, grasped that fact as part of their 
fate, and so rose superior to it. Their work obtained the 
full measure of devotion possible for a human being to 
bestow ; and placed as kings over vast masses of alien 
populations, they conducted themselves as kings indeed. 
These successors of theirs, on the other hand, just 
because there was already so much of European in their 
daily life, wanted to have still more of it, and were dis. 
contented because they could not have enough. Their 
work obtained from them only a fraction of their selves- 
Moreover, they had now to do it more and more as agents 
under the direction of superiors, and more and more had 
to be recorded with reasons as well as done, so that more 
and more of that portion of their time and their self which 
these men of the second generation gave to their work, 
came to be given, pen in hand, at the desk. The written 
record of the work grew in bulk and improved in quality ; 
the departments multiplied, their network became more 
and more elaborate as it spread over the land ; the system 
grew and improved from the secretariat point of view, 
until its own logical development and completion became 
an end in itself, by the time that the Stracheys and the 
Stephens were in the seats ' of the mighty at Simla and 
Calcutta, at the end of the period here assigned to the 
second generation. 


India, too, the field of their work, had begun to 
throb with new life. The blood-letting of the sanguinary- 
eighteenth century had reduced the poor blind giant to a 
state of coma. But district after district, as it passed 
under the British Flag, had rest and peace; the village 
homes were repaired, the jungle and the wild beasts rece- 
ded, intercourse between more and more distant parts 
began at a brisker pace and in larger volume than ever 
before, security, justice and industry were established on 
a firmer basis than ever. Education followed ; foreign not 
merely in outward look and form, but foreign through and 
through to the spirit of Indian culture ; preaching the 
supremacy of the individual conscience, the right as well 
as the duty of individual action and individual judgment, 
the dignity of the individual soul ; an education mundane, 
political, democratic ; recognising nothing higher than the 
reason of man and the experience of mankind, and con- 
veyed through romantic art, unsettling philosophy, the 
triumphs of experimental science, and the history of re- 
bellions. That laws and governments were human con- 
trivances, that they were of primary importance for the 
life and happiness of the people, that self-government was 
a blessing of incalculable potency, that foreign domination 
was unjustifiable even when not a curse, that submission 
to it, however necessary, dwarfed and degraded the spirit 
of man, — these and similar ideas were new to the Indian 
mind, but they began to sink deep into it almost from the 
first. As education has spread, as more and more young 
Indians have crossed the seas to drink the pure waters of 
Western culture at the source, and as India has come to 
know of and been brought into contact with world-move- 
ments more and more, this thirst for self-government as for 
the mystical waters of the fabled spring of eternal life has 
claimed Indian youths in ever growing numbers. 

Modern Japan began its career during what we have 
called the period of the second generation. But India 
knew little about it until Japan made her war upon China 


and emerged victorious. Near the end of the second 
generation occurred the incident of the cotton duties 
already related, and the suspicion that England was ex- 
ploiting India began, a suspicion which later happenings 
have solidified into an axiomatic first principle in many 
minds. Lytton's Press Act, the Ilbert Bill controversy, 
the attitude of the Civil Service and the Indian govern- 
ment towards the Congress, the failure of the Congress 
efforts to get parliament to reform the Indian constitution, 
and the Curzonian regime, wounding to the quick by its 
blatant assertion of a superiority inherent and unalterable, 
because of race, may be mentioned as successive Indian 
incidents covering the period of the third generation of 
civilians almost continuously. To these must be added 
growing economic unrest and increasing appreciation 
by large masses of the population of the treatment 
accorded and the attitude rigidly maintained by white 
colonials towards Indians all over the Empire. As to 
world movements, Indian nationalism was not born when 
Greece won her freedom early in the century, but the 
thought and career of the outstanding leaders in every 
subsequent nationalist success or struggle in Europe, and 
the Asiatic upheaval that began with Japan and becam^ 
more pronounced in the last years of the nineteenth and 
the first years of the twentieth century have had an influ- 
ence on Indian nationalism which ought not to be over- 
looked, however difficult it might be for the historian to 
estimate the degree of that influence. 

And, in the meanwhile, were the civilian administra- 
tors of this third generation better adapted than their 
predecessors to cope with an India moving so fast ? The 
influences already noted as affecting the second genera- 
tion for the worse were still in operation and acted with 
increasing force in each succeeding decade. The corps 
d' elite been me more and more self-conscious, more impa- 
tient of criticism as criticism increased, retired within its 
shell-the self-sufficient European life and society it had 


created with its rapid growth in numbers at an increasing 
number of centres, and became a caste of white Brahmans 
more exclusive than any caste had ever been even in 
India. We have seen that the separation of England and 
India from each other merely because of the distance had 
become a thing of the past, and thought currents of 
English politics flooded the minds of the English admini- 
strators here also. Jingoism held increasing sway in 
England from about 1875 onwards for the rest of the 
century, and many of this third generation of our rulers 
here were Jingoes. Some amongst them carried this 
superior attitude of mind to an extreme, called themselves 
the followers of Nietzsche, and posed as super-men. And 
finally, the average of ability vigour and understanding 
was certainly lower than in the second generation, for the 
best talent of England was no longer attracted to India. 2 
If this historical review of the changes that have come 
over the spirit of the I. C. S. and allied services from 
generation to generation has any basis at all in fact, the 
claims of the Stracheys and the Stephens that the 1 858- 
1 920 system of an irresponsible bureaucracy out of which 
Indians are excluded, is the best possible form of govern- 
ment and administration for India, were not quite admis- 
sible even when they were first formulated, and the pro- 
gressive advance of India and the simultaneous deteriora- 
tion of the services since, have made them less and less 
tenable decade by decade. From this point of view it 
only remains to add, in conclusion, that the authoritative 
announcement of the Secretary of State for India in the 
House of Commons on the 20th August, 1917, came not a 
moment too soon, that "the policy of H. M.'s Government 
with which the Government of India are in complete 

2 Moreover the rapid increase in the numbers drawn from 
England necessarily lowered the average. A wellknown member of the 
Calcutta University Commission put the same thing from another point 
of view when he wrote, — " India has been for a long time a heavy drain 
upon the resources of England in brain power" ( 9-11-1917). 


accord, is that of the increasing association of Indians in 
every branch of the administration and the gradual deve- 
lopment of self-governing institutions with a view to the 
progressive realisation of responsible government in India." 

Strachey : chs 6 and 25 

Chesney : oh 11. 

J.' Ramsay Mac don aid: oh 8. 

Abdttr Rahim :Minute of Dissent, Islington Commmission Report. 


§ 28 The Indian Councils Act, 1861. The Regulating 
Act had given the Governor General in Council at Fort 
William the power to make rules, ordinances and regula- 
tions for the better government of the Company's terri- 
tories ( §§ 36-37). Such Regulations had been issued in 
consequence not only by the Bengal government, but 
also by the Madras presidency from 1 S02 and the Bombay 
presidency from 1827. 1 The Charter Act of 1833 made a 
beginning in the direction of a regular law-making organ. 
( §§ 40, 43-8, 51, 53-5, 59, 66). A law member was added 
to the Bengal executive council-Macanlay was appointed 
the first law member, a board of Law Commissioners was 
appointed to help him in giving to the measures required 
a form in which they could be brought before the Council 
ready for decisison, the quorum for law-making was fixed 
at the Governor General and three members, and the sub- 
ordinate presidencies were deprived of their power of 
making|Regulations. While making laws under these pro- 
visions the executive council of the Governor General was 
thus his legislative council for the whole of India. The 
Charter Act of 1853 (§§22-26), made the distinction 
clearer by adopting the suggestion, made by Charles Grant 

1 Se« Ubtrt pp 84, 147. 


in 1853, of additional members, selected for their expert 
qualifications and helping only when the Council proceed- 
ed to law-making. All these measures have been dealt 
with already in earlier chapters. Then followed the 
enactment of 1861 remodelling the British Indian legisla- 
ture altogether. The Indian Legislative Council created 
in 1853 had conducted itself like a miniature House of 
Commons, questioning the executive and its acts with 
great freedom and forcing it to place even confidential 
papers on the table. The Indian executive were obviously 
at a disadvantage in dealing with such a legislature, not 
being free to force it, like the Cabinet in England, to pro- 
ceed to a vote of want of confidence, if it dared, nor was 
it free to use the final argument of resigning and appealing 
to the country. Sir Charles Wood had proposed to parlia- 
ment the Charter Act of 1853 which had established this 
legislature. And in introducing this new measure in 1861, 
he was obliged to say, "I have seen a measure which I 
myself introduced in 1853, with one view, changed by the 
mode in which it was carried into execution, so as to give 
it an operation totally different from that which I intended . 
The mischiefs resulting from that change have been great." 
The powers of this remodelled legislative council were 
therefore severely restricted to legislative matters only, 
and powers were reserved to the Governor General to make 
ordinances, without his Council, which were to be in force 
for six months. Further, the Governor General in Council 
had in the past made regulations by executive order for 
the Punjab and other Non-regulation provinces, had exten- 
ded the regulations of the lower provinces to Benares, and 
had empowered the Administrations of Lower Burma and 
the N. W. P., to administer those provinces in the spirit 
of the Bengal regulations. Questions had subsequently 
arisen as to the strict legality of these acts. The present 
Act validated them all. 

Moreover, this Act restored the legislative power of 
the Bombay and Madras governments, and constituted a 


legislative council for each of them, on the same lines as 
the legislative council of the Governor General. It was 
further provided that there were to be legislative councils 
for Bengal, the N. W. P., and Punjab also. Under these 
provisions Bengal obtained its legislative council in 1862, 
and the N. W. P. in 1 886. The numbers for these local legis- 
latures were to be not less than four nor more than eight, 
besides the Advocate General of the province. The " addi- 
tional members " in the central legislature were to be not 
less than six and not more than twelve. All these addi- 
tional members were to be nominated, each for two years, 
and not less than one-half in each council were to be 

The nomination of non-official members was a de- 
parture of historical importance. The experience of the 
Mutiny had taught the need of a better knowledge and 
understanding of the opinions, sentiments and prejudices 
of the people, and it was hoped that Indians of wide 
experience and great weight coming up to the legislative 
councils as nominated members would not only enable 
government to learn how projected measures were likely 
to strike Indians and how they could be modified so as to 
suit them better, but that advantage could also be taken 
of their stay at headquarters through the medium of free 
and informal conversations, of eliciting their opinions and 
their points of view on various matters of more or less 
importance. It was soon discovered however that it was 
not possible to secure this latter advantage. Until the 
Universities, then just established, produced a class of 
Indian leaders and representatives of a modern type, the 
only people available for nominations were Indian Chiefs, 
their diwans or darbaris, hereditary landed gentry or reli- 
gious leaders, and government pensioners who had retired 
from the highest posts open to Indians. And the representa- 
tives of these classes were, in the sixties and seventies of 
the nineteenth century, too conservative for what the 
Englishman calls social intercourse, and too cautious, 


diplomatic and urbane for really free interchange of views. 
It was second nature to them to divine what it would please 
the inquirer to hear and in most cases to reply accordingly. 
The Indian Raja or Diwan of the past had the same 
difficulty in eliciting the real views of the people, 1 but 
then they knew the nature and the gravity of the diffi- 
culty, and also knew hosv to put people at their ease, and 
gave the time and the trouble necessary to get to the 
bottom of their minds. The foreigner, of course, had 
neither this knowledge nor these arts. It should also be 
noted, however, that while the Raja of that generation was 
quite content to leave the Indian world exactly as it had 
been for hundreds of years, the British ruler was inspired 
with the dream or the mission of creating a better and a 
progressive India ; he wanted to create it by legislative and 
executive processes; his conception of the State, both as 
to the powers it ought to exert and as to the limits beyond 
which it ought not to travel on any account, was also quite 
novel to the Indian mind ; and the questions which puzzled 
him at every step were in consequence questions which 
few Indians of that day could have understood in all their 
bearings. In one word, the nomination of Indians 2 to the 
legislative councils was a bold step in advance of the time. 
It is necessary to understand this to realise how fast India 
has progressed, or rather, how utterly unprepared India 
was for Western political methods and institutions in 1 861. 
A chronicler of that time, echoing the impressions current 
amongst well-informed contemporaries, has remarked that 
" during the last thirty years India has so much changed 
that except for the colour of the people, and perhaps the 

1 The analogy of the Indian Raja's ' court ' -will be found in Sir 
Bartle Frere's well-known minute of 1860 on the subject. 

2 Non-official Europeans of the mercantile and settler classes were 
also nominated; these men, too, were then little better than exponents 
and champions of their own class interests and privileges, 


climate, you would hardly recognise it as the same." 3 And 
the change has gone on at an increasing pace, decade 
by decade. 

The business to be transacted at the council meetings 
was expressly limited to the consideration and enactment 
of legislative measures, no motion was allowed except in 
reference to a bill, which was being introduced or under 
consideration ; no measure was allowed to be introduced 
by a private member, except with the previous sanction of 
the Governor General, that might affect the national debt, 
or the public revenues, or imposed any charge upon 
revenue, or affect the military and naval force?, or their 
discipline, or the religion or religious rights and usages of 
any section of the people. The rules of procedure were 
left to the executive. The power of parliament to legis- 
late for India was reserved ; the council was not to legis- 
late so as to repeal or in any way affect any parliamentary 
legislation about India ; nor so as to affect the authority of 
parliament, or the sovereignty or dominion of the Crown, 
over British India, or the allegiance of any subject 
to the Crown. Laws passed by the Council were not to 
have validity if the Governor General withheld his assent 
to them. * Laws passed but reserved by the Governor 
General for the pleasure of the Crown, were not to have 
validity until the assent of the Crown had been notified 
through the Secretary of State in Council. And laws 
assented to by the Governor General went into force but 
became null and void again, if the Crown through the 

3 I. T. Prichard, Indian Administration, 1859-68, 2 vols., published in 
1869; I p. 131. See also his introductory chapter. For an earlier wit- 
ness see Kaye, Administration E. I. Co., published 1853: — "The phy- 
sical improvement of the country and the moral improvement of the 
people are advancing, under our eyes, with a rapidity which would fill 
the bygone generation of Indian administrators with as much astonish- 
ment as the ancient race of soldiers would experience at the sight of 
the magnificent dimensions of our Indian Empire " ( p. 267 ). 

4 This power appears to be the analogue of the G. G.'s power to 
do what he thought fit in spite of a unanimous council. 


Secretary of State in Council disallowed them. These 
limitations and restrictions are important, as they were 
maintained upto 1892, and the relaxations since, which 
will be noted as they occurred, were none of them of a 
radical character. The restrictions may be summed up 
into two cardinal statements. Though establishing these 
legislatures the authorities in England were careful not to 
relax in the slightest degree the subordination to themselves 
of the executives in India. They were also careful to guard 
against all possibility of the new organs weakening 
these executives in any way whatever. The councils had 
a standing official majority, and a preponderance of the 
executive out of all proportion to that majority. They 
were merely advisory bodies and even their function of 
humbly tendering advice was rigidly circumscribed. 
People expecting a legislature to be in some degree inde- 
pendent of the excutive and able to exercise some check 
upon it, not merely by the indirect process of compelling 
the executive itself to reconsider matters but in some 
ostensible manner, were naturally disappointed with it, 
and thought its title a misnomer. 5 The forms, delays, 
discussions, inquiries, and publicity necessary to good 
law-making were introduced ; but the will behind the laws 
that came to be made was the will of the executive. And, 
in consequence, parliament was able to hand over to the 
executive, within the bounds of its delegated authority, 
plenary powers of legislation. The Indian legislative 
council had power to make laws for all persons, all courts, 
and all places and things in British India ; for Indian sub- 
jects, soldiers and campfollowers in any part of the world, 
and for British Indian subjects and government servants 
anywhere in India. 6 And these laws superseded laws and 
regulations made by any other authority inlndia. The powers 
of the local legislatures were restricted in the same way as 
those of the central council ; they were further debarred 

5 Prichard I pp. 113-4, 119-121, II pp. 225-6. 

6 Some of these powers were added later. 


from legislating about the tariff, currency, post and tele 
graphs, patents and copyright, the Indian Penal Code, and 
other matters exclusively under the control of the central 
executive ; and the laws passed by them and assented to 
by the Governor were not to have validity until also 
assented to by the Governor General. Finally, the 
practice soon grew up for the Government of India and 
the provincial governments to refer a bill to the Secretary 
of State and the government of India respectively, before 
i ts introduction into the legislative council. 

Mukharji I 191-222: the text and Sir Charles Wood's speech 

Ilbert pp 99-103 and ch 3 part VI. 

Report on Indian Constitutional Reforms *§§ 56-65. 

§ 29 The Indian Councils Act, i $92. Although 
exceptional men like Raja Ram Mohan Roy had begun to 
appear, the Indian people outside Bengal and. the bigger 
towns were still, in the decade of the Mutiny, what we 
have called them in an earlier chapter, dumb and alto- 
gether oriental or mediaeval in their outlook. But English 
education spread fast, a " native " press began its poli- 
tical mission in province after province, a new literature 
was born in one vernacular after another growing more 
and more modern in tone method and aims, and the 
English language and railways began to transform and 
unify Indian thought, aspiration and outlook. The num- 
bers swelled to hundreds in every province of men who 
began to envisage the Indian political problem as a whole, 
to criticise the actions and resolutions of the executive 
from day to day, and to follow events in the outside world 
also and estimate their bearings. The proceedings of the 
English parliament and the vicissitudes of the party 
struggles there came to be a topic ot absorbing interest 
to growing numbers in every Indian town. Above all, 
there was the increasing pressure from above of a foreign 

♦Referred to henceforth in this book as Report I. C. R. 


bureaucracy getting more and more unsympathetic and 
supercilious, and there also were two masses of the 
population in the Indian continent,-the Muhammadan in 
the North, the Maratha in the Deccan, who cherished 
memories of the bygone days of their own power and 
glory. India's demand that England do fulfil her deli- 
berate legislative promises and solemn royal pledges- 
began as a continuous petition urged in a voice ever 
growing in volume and rising in pitch, from about the 
seventies. And, curiously enough, the first Indian who 
came to be recognised and revered as the spokesman of 
India was the exceptionally modest, simpleminded and 
inoffensive Dadabhai Naoroji. Another short decade and 
the local political simmerings gave rise to presidency 
organisations, and out of them leapt into the forefront the 
all-India annual gathering of the Indian National Congress. 
By the material test of numbers, resources, structure, or 
even output of work, it looked a negligible an almost 
contemptible little thing for so vast a country to put forth 
as its accredited representative. But the average Civilian 
would have done well to see, as did the few Humes, 
Wedderburns and Cottons who formed a dwindling mino- 
rity in the order, that the new institution was endowed 
with life and growth, and that the better mind of India 
would be behind it more and more. 

The Indian National Congress asked for representa- 
tive legislatures with wider functions, from the very 
beginning of its career in December 1885. If the Govern- 
ment of India were ever inclined to favour the idea of a 
real transfer of power, however limited, to the people and 
their elected representatives, it could only have been for 
a very short time. But they were not unfavourable to 
elected representatives. And they as well as the Anglo- 
Indian opinion set forth by chambers of commerce and 
other bodies, desired that greater and more regular oppor- 
tunities should be afforded to the people to state their 
grievances and seek information, and to the executive 


to explain policy and reply to criticisms and 
attacks due to ignorance and misunderstanding. At the 
Jubilee celebrations, February 1887, Lord Dufferin indi- 
cated that government were thinking of enlarging the 
imperial council and widening its functions. He appointed 
a committee to frame proposals, and these were submitted 
to the Secretary of State in 1888. Lord Lansdowne, 
who succeeded, submitted similar proposals in the follow- 
ing year. It was obvious that nothing could be done 
without a fresh parliamentary Act, as the Act of 1861 
had provided for nominated members only and laid down 
strict restrictions as to numbers and powers. The Indian 
National Congress organised public opinion on the subject 
both here and in England, and asked that half the mem- 
bers of each legislature should be elected representatives, 
that the annual budget should be regularly submitted to 
the legislatures, that the members should be allowed to 
interpellate government, and that the Punjab should also 
have its legislature. 1 Charles Bradlaugh was present at 
the Bombay sessions of the Indian National Congress 
( December 1889 ), and introduced a bill on the subject 
into the House of Commons early in the following year. 
The Secretary of State also introduced a bill on the 
same subject in the House of Lords in the same 
session. Both were crowded out by other parliamentary 
business. The Secretary of State made a second attempt 
in 1891 without success. At length at the third attempt 
in 1892 the bill, as it had been amended by the House of 
Lords in 1890, became law. The principle of election was 
not embodied in the Act, as Lord Cross would not have it. 
During its passage through the House of Commons it ex- 
cited keen interest. The following extract from the speech 
of Mr. ( now Lord ) Curzon, then Under Secretary of State 
for India, at the second reading of the bill, puts the whole 
matter briefly and clearly. 

1 First I. N. Congress, Resolution III; II Congress, Resolutions 
II-V; III Congress, Resolutions II, N. IV Congress, Resolution I; V Con- 
gress (1889) Resolution IE; VI Congress, Resolutions I and VIII; VII 
Congress, Resolutions II, XII, XIII, Bradlaugh died January 30, 18 91. 


Mr. Curzon : Coming to the concluding question, the mode in which 
these additional members were to be appointed, he noticed that the Hon. 
Member for North Manchester (Mr. Maclean) had on the paper an 
amendment declaring that no reform of the Indian Councils which does 
not embody the elective principle could prove satisfactory. But the 
Bill, he had to point out, does not exclude some such principle, be the 
method election, or selection, or delegation, or whatever particular 
phrase they liked to employ. The 4th sub-section of Clause I runs as 
follows : — 

"The Governor General in Council may from time to 
time, with the approval of the Secretary of State in Council, 
make regulations as to the conditions under which such 
nominations, or any of them, shall be made by the Governor 
General, Governors, and Lieutenant-Governors respec- 
tively, and prescribe the manner in which such regulations 
shall be carried into effect." 

Lord Kimberley himself had elsewhere, in an earlier stage of this 
Bill, expressed himself with reference to this Clause as follows : — "I 
express my own satisfaction because I regard this, as, to a certain 
extent, an admission of the elective principle...! myself believe that, 
under this Clause it would be possible for the Governor General to 
make arrangements by which certain persons may be presented to him, 
having been chosen by election, if the Governor General should find 
that such a system oan be established. " 

Mr. Maclean : Does the Government accept that view of Lord 
Kimberley ? 

Mr. Curzon: Undoubtedly, Sir, the opinions expressed by Lord 
Kimberley are also shared by the Secretary of State. 

Gladstone in winding up the debate for his party* 
agreed that the wording of the sub-section was so peculiar 
that it could not but mean an intention, a genuine and 
sincere intention, to leave room for the adoption of the 
principle of election, if it was at all found possible to do 
so. If so, the question arose — should parliament pre- 
scribe election in so many words, or should it leave the 
matter to the discretion of the Governor General in Coun- 
cil? This question Gladstone decided against Maclean 
and his liberal pro-Indian friends, and in favour of the 
Government of India. Hence, although he said he felt 
"justified in looking forward not merely to a nominal but 


to a real living representation of the people of India, " he 
deprecated a division, he felt it might convey a wrong 
impression, and concluded : " I certainly could not take 
part in any division hostile, or apparently hostile to the 
Bill.... We should do well to allow this Bill to receive 
the unanimous assent of the House. " 

On the more important issue of powers and functions, 
the Act only widened the opportunities of non-official 
members for " criticism, suggestion, remonstrance, and 
inquiry." 2 So ended the first effort of educated India. 
Since 1861 a whole generation had passed by; a genera- 
tion during which Universities and law courts had grown 
up from their first small beginnings into the most cherish- 
ed of the modern institutions that England had sympathe- 
tically planted into India; a generation during which 
English had become the common language in India of the 
upper ten thousand, during which English literature and 
English history and politics were studied with an utter 
reverence beyond description, and Indian youths were 
crossing the kala pani in ever increasing numbers to 
drink of the fountain at the source. This spirit, this 
attitude of India towards England, has gone, never to 
return. The failure of parliament to seize the psycholo- 
gical moment and make a genuine beginning, however 
small, of representative institutions in India has changed 
all that, once for all. 

However, the leading Congressmen both in India 
and in England bowed to the inevitable. The 
new Act gave — 

(1) Larger councils, and also, gradually, councils 
for some provinces hitherto without them. 

The maximum number of " additional members " for 
the central council was raised from 12 to 16. For the 
provincial councils the maximum was fixed at 20 in the 

2 Lord Du fieri n. 


case of Madras, Bombay, and Bengal, and 15 for U. P. 
Councils were established later for the Punjab and Burma 
(1*897) with 9 additional members. 3 

(2) The right of interpellation. 

Any member might ask a question, if it was a re- 
quest for information only, if its wording was not argu- 
mentative, hypothetical or defamatory, after due notice ; 
the president might disallow any such question ; and, 
lastly, there was to be no discussion on the reply. 

(3) The right to discuss the annual financial 

A printed copy was to be supplied to every member 
some days in advance, and at the meeting any member 
might discuss and comment upon any part of it, and 
offer suggestions, and the financial member, heads of de- 
partments ( if nominated additional members ), and the 
president might reply and wind up the debate. But no 
resolution could be formally proposed or the house divided 
upon it. 

Under the 4th sub-section of clause I, quoted above, 
rules were framed under which ten non-officials ( and not 
eight only) were nominated to the Governor-General's 
Council; viz., those recommended, i. e. elected for the 
purpose, by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce (1), and 
by the non-official additional members of the provincial 
councils ( one each from Madras, Bombay, Bengal and U. 
P., and later from the Punjab, Burma, and Eastern Bengal 
and Assam also ), and those others selected by the 
Governor General with a view to the legislative business 
before the council, and the due representation of all 
classes. To have nominated more than ten non-officials 
would have exposed the council to the risk of a non- 
official majority. 

3 When Eastern Bengal and Assam was separated from Benga 
(1905) it was given a council with 15 additional members for legislative 
purposes. Punjab and Burma were treated as 'minor' or 'backward' 
provinces i.e. the legislatures there established were of the 1861 pattern. 


In the Bombay Council, under the rules framed, 
eight of the non-official members were nominated on the 
recommendation of the Bombay Corporation, the Bombay 
University, municipalities, district boards, and other 
bodies. The Governor nominated other non-officials also, 
and the total number of the non-officials was to be at 
least 10 out of 20. The Bombay Government soon ceased 
to nominate the full complement of additional official 
members (10), so that for several years before 1909, the 
Bombay legislative council was working with n non-official 
majority. The regulations for the " nomination " of non- 
officials at Madras and Calcutta were similar; but in the 
last province, on a revision in 1 908, one seat was given to 
the Zamindars. 

Mukharji I 228-245: the text and extracts from the speeches of 
Mr. Curzon and Mr. Gladstone. 
Ilbert p 107 and ch 3 part VI 
Report I. C. R. §§ 66-71. 

§ 30 The Indian Councils Act, iooo. In 1813 and 
1833 we have seen the influence of the thought currents 
predominant in England on the growth of the Indian con- 
stitution. Lord Ripon, again, during his viceroyalty was 
but the agent of English liberalism in trying to rear the 
plant of public life in India by his Local Self-Gov eminent 
Act of 1 882. For the twenty years that followed the con- 
servative party was in the ascendent in England, and it 
was a period of stagnation in India. We have just seen 
how the principle of election was not introduced in the 
Act of 1892, although the Government of India was not 
against it. During the latter part of this period and espe- 
cially after 1 905 India was, as Gokhle said in the central 
council, "drifting into chaos." 1 But the liberal party won 

1 The Prime Minister ( Mr. Asquith ) referred to this statement 
in the debate on the second reading ( April 1909 ) and added, " I do not 
say that the aspirations of Mr. Gokhle are met by this Bill, or those 
of his friends; but it is a step which will avert the serious danger which 
has been confronting us for the last few years. " 


a sweeping victory in the general election of December 
1905, and John Morley became Secretary of State for India 
in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's ministry. His first 
measures had to be repressive, 2 as Lord Curzon's regime 
and especially his partition of Bengal had given rise to 
widespread discontent. But he very soon came to the 
conclusion that a further step in advance was also neces- 
sary, such as would render the administration progressively 
sympathetic and give the people themselves a growing 
influence and a larger voice in the deliberations by means 
of which a modern state shaped its public policy. The 
friction and delays he overcame were immense, in order 
to be able to overcome them at all he had to reduce his 
scheme to the indispensable minimum, to claim for its 
character, tendency and effects very much less than was 
justly due to it, and to keep his own authorship of it in 
the background, and his ripe statesmanship shone at its 
best in this strategy. Larger employment of Indians in 
the higher posts upto the highest and decentralisation on 
an extensive and effective scale, so that local self- 
government organs would be really self-governing and 
the provinces would develop from mere agencies and 
administrations into governments, were as essential parts 
of his scheme as the enlargement of the legislatures and 
their elevation from the position of mere advisory adjuncts 
to that of essential limbs of the government, wielding an 
influence, certain to grow full soon into directing power 
and control. But he retired from the helm; before the recom- 
mendations of the Decentralisation Commission could 
be worked out and even before the Islington Public 
Service Commission was appointed. Even his scheme for 
the legislatures the Government of India modified in the 
fundamental particular of communal electorates. Still, it 

2 Deportations (under the Bengal State Prisoners Regulation of 
1818 ) May 1907 and later. Prevention of seditious meetings, by ordi- 
ance, followed up within six months by an Act-November 1907; 
Explosive Substances Act and Incitements to Offences Act, 1908; news- 
paper prosecutions; &c 


is not too much to say that the vessel of state was drift- 
ing on to disaster when Morley took the helm, and it was 
his foresight, firmness, and liberalism, coupled with the 
unique respect and confidence he inspired in the minds 
of all concerned ( from the Cabinet and the radical and 
labour M. P. 's in England, down to the leaders amongst 
the Civil Service as well as the moderate, Muhammadan, 
and nationalist parties in India ), which enabled him to 
make a fresh start, to make even the Civil Service realise 
that a centralised bureaucracy and Curzonian bumptious- 
ness were evils of the first magnitude, and that, moreover, 
repression alone or in excess of a proved specific need, 
would never be to tolerated by parliament or by England as 
their settled policy towards India. Thus, it is not too 
much to say that to him belongs in an exceptioual degree 
the credit of saving the cause of progressive constitutional 
reform in India. 

The bill was introduced into parliament on February 
1 7 and received the Royal assent on May 25,1909. It 
took the foim of an Act amending previous enactments on 
the subject, and left a great deal to be provided by regula- 
tions and rules which the executive connected with the 
particular legislature was to frame, and the next higher 
authority was to sanction. All such proclamations, 
regulations and rules, other than rules made by a Lieute- 
nant Governor for the more convenient transaction of 
business in his Council, were also to be laid before parlia- 
ment as soon as made. The Act provided that amongst 
the additional members there were to be both nominated 
and elected members, and fixed their mBximum at sixty 
for the council of the Governor General, fifty for the 
council of each of the major provinces, 3 and thirty for the 

3 Eastern Bengal and Assam was counted as a major province; Pu , 
Burma and any other Lieutenant-Governor's province 'where a legisla . e 
council might be constituted hereafter' were counted as minor p >- 
vinoes. With the repartition of Bengal in 1912, Bihar and Orissa took the 

(See page 151) 



rest. And the Act further provided that rules shall be 
made authorising at these Councils (a) the discussion of 
(1) the annual financial statement and (2) any matter of 
general public interest, and (b) the asking of questions, 
under prescribed conditions and restrictions. 

The Secretary of State in Council had pointed out in 
their despatch (No. 193, 27-11-1908) that in the provincial 
legislatures an official majority might be dispensed with, 
but that a substantial official majority must be permanent- 
ly maintained in the central body (§ § 17-22). Under the 
rules and regulations the councils were so constructed 
from the first as to carry out both these principles. 

The elected members of the central council were 
returned by (a) the non-official members of the provincial, 

( Concluded from 150 ) 
place of Eastern Bengal and Assam, and Assam itself ranked as a separate 
minor provinoe. The Government of India Act, 1912 (passed June 25), 
enabled legislatures to be formed for provinces under Chief-Commission- 
ers. The regulations for all legislatures were then revised, the Assam 
Council was established, November 1912, and the C. P. and Berar Coun- 
cil, November 1913. The maximum numbers, as after 1913, are shown 
in the following table: — 

Class of Member 
































Executive Council 







Nominated Offl. 











Total Offl. 











Nomniated non-offl. 





















7 + 3 

Total Non-Offl. 











Experts-offl. or Non-offl. 






















* The 3 Berar members elected by municipalities, dittrict boards, 
and landlords, one each. 



councils of Madras, Bombay, Bengal, and U. P., two each, 
and those of the other five provinces, one each; (b) the 
landholders of Madras, Bombay, Bengal, U. P., Bihar and 
Orissa, and C. P., one each ; (c) the Muhammadans of the 
same five provinces, excepting C. P., one each, and 
another by the Muhammadans of U.P. or of Bengal at alte- 
nate elections ; and (d) by the two Chambers of Commerce 
Bombay and Bengal : total, 27. 

The twentyeight elected members of the Bengal 
council were, under the regulations, returned by ( a ) the 
municipalities, district and local boards, and Muhammadans 
5 each ; ( b ) the landholders of the four divisions, except, 
ing Chittagong, one each ; ( c ) the municipalities or land- 
holders of the Chittagong division, one member at alternate 
elections; ( d) the Calcatta Corporation, the elected com- 
missioners of the same Corporation, the Calcutta University, 
the Calcutta Trades Association, the tea-planters, and the 
Chittagong Port Commissioners, one each ; and ( e ) two by 
the Bengal Chamber of Commerce. 

The twenty One elected members in the Madras, 
Bombay, U. P., and Behar and Orissa Councils were simi- 
larly elected by municipalities, district boards and corpora- 
tions, Muhammadans, landholders, commerce industrial, 
or mining associations, and universities. 4 

4 The details in parallel columns: — 




Behar & Orissa. 

The Corporation 
of M. 1 


and District 


The University 




M. Chamber of 

Commence 1 
M. Trades Asstn 1 

Do. of B. 1 

Municipalities 4 
District Boards 4 


Larger munici- 
palities in rota 
tion 4 

Smaller M. and 
Dist, Boards 9 

Landholders 3 

B. Do. 
Karachi C. 
The Indn Com 
mercial Com- 
Millowners of 
Bombay and 



Upper India 
Chamber of 

Municipalities 5 
District Boards 5 




The Mining 


Burma was treated exceptionally. The Chamber of 
Commerce elected one member, but the government 
nominated four members to represent the Burmese, two 
to represent the Indians and Chinese in Burma, and two 
to represent other sections To the Assam legislature 
the Muhammadans, the landholders, the municipalities 
of the province, and the local boards, elected two members 
each, the tea-planters elected three. The Punjab had a 
University and a Chamber of Commerce ; each returned 
one member to the legislature. The C. P. and Berar 
landholders elected two and one member respectively to 
their council. And the rest of the elected members in 
both provinces were returned by municipalities and 
district boards. 

None but British subjects were eligible for election. 
Officials, females, bankrupts and insolvents, persons 
judicially found to be of unsound mind, and persons 
under twenty five years of age were disqualified. And 
persons dismissed from government service, legal practi- 
tioners deprived of their sa?iads, persons sentenced to 
imprisonment exceeding six months, or transportation, or 
ordered to find security for good behaviour, and, finally 
persons whose election the Governor General in Council, 
in view of their reputation and antecedents, declared to 
be contrary to the public interest, were also to be held 
disqualified, unless and until in any particular case the 
Governor General in Council waived the disqualification 
by a written order. Females, minors, and persons of 
unsound mind were also disqualified for voting at the 
elections. The elected members were to serve for three 
years, but the members nominated to the councils by 
government might be nominated for any shorter term. In 
constituting the electorates various methods had to be 
adopted, according to local conditions, and even so, not a 
few of the electorates were experimental, some of them 

were avowedly provisional until better ones could be 


devised, and there were also cases, e. g. the Punjab 
Muhammadans and landholders, and the various sections 
of the Burmese population, in which no electorates could 
be formed at all, and selected representatives had to be 
nominated to the councils. Most of the electorates were 
indirect. And in the direct electorates of Muhammadans 
and landholders, the qualifications required for a vote 
varied greatly from province to province. 

Critics of the Act of 1892 have observed that although 
the principle of election was not adopted in words it was 
adopted as a fact/ 5 Critics of the Act of 1 909 have observed 
that though the principle of election was adopted in words, 
the legislatures created were such as could not be accep- 
ted as representative in any real sense. 6 Both criticisms 
rest upon facts obvious to all. Enlightened Indian opini- 
on felt nevertheless that the Act of 1 909 was a great step 
in advance of the Act of 1892. Political freedom, as the 
West understood it, was unthinkable without representa- 
tive legislatures; without bodies composed of elected 
representatives of the people. In 1853, 1858 and 1861, it 
was held impossible to constitute such bodies in India. 
Indian political effort concentrated more and more upon 
g- tting his judgment quashed. Citizens, in the Western 
s se, fl re primnry vot< rs whose representatives in con- 
stitut o . s controlled the executive government 

in ; en ral > o.;cy and daiiy administration: this and this 
alone was po itical freedom ; this and this alone was true 
citizenship. Indian political opinion aspired to that citi- 
zenship, at first in British India itself, and then in the 
British Empire as a whole. It failed in the attempt in 
1892, but succeeded in 1909. The acceptance of the prin- 
ciple by parliament was, from the Indian point of view, 
the main battle. At last was made the longed-for start, 
and the only destination possible was the status of "/the 
King's equal subjects." 7 

5 Report I. C. R~fG97~ 

6 Report I. C. R. § 83; Dyarchy, pp. 366-8. 

7 Lord Morley used the phrase in his speech, 23-2-1909; Gokhle 
quoted it enthusiastically in his budget speech, 25-3-1909. 


It is too mechanical a view of political moments to 
judge them by the new scaffolding. The meaning of an 
advance is as a rule better indicated in the new functions 
assigned, the new goal set. No change was made, none 
was intended, 8 nor expected, 9 in the essential subordi- 
nation of the legislatures to the executive. Lord Morley 
emphasized this repeatedly. It do^s not follow, however, 
that his critics, from Lord Curzon downwards, were incor- 
rect in pointing out, that though he Assured us that he 
had no ambition to set up any sort of parliamentary 
system in India, or 'even to share in the beginning of that 
operation,' it will inevitably be the consequence of his 
act." 10 Lord Morley certainly desired an association of 
the representatives of the people with the executive; an 
increasing association as the representation improved and 
the representatives acquired experience and outgrew the 
stage of negative irresponsible criticism; whe^ or how 
this was to grow into influence and pressure, and that 
into parliamentary control, he left to the future. 
Through what events, — enlargements of the electorates, 
dead-locks in the legislatures, conflicts between the pro- 
vincial and central governments — this future might have 
been shaped, or how soon, it is impossible to tell, for in 
less than five years, the Great War burst upon the world, 
and altered everything. 

The association that was desired was rendered possi- 
ble by an increase in the criticising and deliberative fun- 
ctions of the legislatures. Members could now follow up 
their interpellation by a supplementary question, though 
under the same stringent safeguards as formerly. They 

8 Reform Despatch (No. 193—27-11-1908), § 22. 

9 Gokhle (Budget Speech, 25^5-1909): "To safeguard the essential 
elements of British supremacy, to associate the people more largely 
with the administration of their affairs, and to do this cautiously, 
impartially, and at the same time 'm accordance with ideas and aspirar 
tions which Western education ha s fostered..,* 

10 Curzon's speech, 2nd reaching Debate, 23;-24909 ' 


could move resolutions, in so far as allowed by the presi- 
dent, and on subjects of public interest not excluded from 
the competence of Indian legislatures by the Act of 1861, 
nor sub judice at the moment, nor affecting the relation^ 
of the government with a foreign State or a Native State. 
In the debates that followed, speakers were subjected to a 
time limit, amendments were allowed, and a resolution if 
carried, had, according to the letter of the regulations, no 
more effect than a recommendation. But of the 168 
resolutions moved in the central legislature from 1910 to 
1917,24 were accepted by the executive, and 68 were 
withdrawn by the members either because the debate 
showed the inadvisability of pressing them, or because the 
executive undertook a sympathetic reconsideration of the 
matter. Seventy-three of the resolutions might " be 
described as fructuous. In not a few instances substan- 
tial results were obtained." "The view taken at the time 
that this concession was perhaps the most important of all 
the changes, was (thus) justified by experience." " 

It is impossible to arrange the various parts of a 
complex scheme in the order of their importance and 
effectiveness. All the parts were designed to help materi- 
ally in the desired dilution of irresponsible autocracy with 
popular influence. Where enumeration or other mechani- 
cal tests can be applied, the result can be stated in statis. 
tical or other definite forms; but it does not follow that the 
results were inferior in the case of those other parts of the 
scheme, the operations of which were not easily amenable 
to mechanical analysis. 

Even under the old constitution of the legislature, the 
debate on the budget had, in the central council, afforded 
to the diplomatic and resourceful persuasiveness of Go- 
khle an excellent means to bring popular opinion to bear 
upon the financial policy of the government. What he 

11 Report 1. Q. M, t % 94. For resolutions in the provincial legisla- 
ture* ffet | 98, 


was thus able to achieve from 1902 to 1909 is all the more 
surprising when we remember that his greatest triumphs 
were won while Indian policy and finance were under the 
guidance of two such dominating personalities as Lord 
Curzon and Lord Kitchener. 1 ' Under the Act of 1909 the 
opportunities conceded to the representatives of the people 
to influence the budget were multiplied. The regula- 
tions, as finally modified in 1918, provided for a general 
debate on the preliminary estimates, called the financial 
statement, followed by a debate on such resolutions as the 
members might move, and, when all such resolutions were 
disposed of, by an explanation of the various parts of the 
statement under convenient heads or groups of heads. 
At this stage also resolutions were permitted on certain 
heads of revenue and of expenditure. And, finally, the 
budget proper was presented to the council on or before 
the 24th March, when again the Financial Member, the 
official members in charge of particular heads, and the 
President might enlighten the council on the differences 
between the final and the preliminary figures, on the rea- 
sons for the adoption or rejection of the resolutions, and 
on other topics. In the provincial councils, the prelimi- 
nary statement was submitted to a committee of the coun- 
cil composed of official and non-official members in equal 
numbers. The provincial government then drew up a 
revised statement in the light of the discussions in this 
committee, submitted it to the Government of India for 
provisional approval, and then presented it to the council 
as a whole ; the proceedings thereafter were of the same 
character as in the central legislature. 

One more feature of these new councils has to be 
noted. A representative is a man whom a constituency 

12 Compare Gokhle's budget speeches with those of the Finance 
Minister and the Viceroy, year after year, and judge how much of the 
reductions in taxation, the more accurate estimating, the larger grants 
to the nation-building heads of expenditure, the more sympathetic ton« 
and attitude, were due to Gofchle's influence, 


send on their behalf to an assembly because of their gen- 
eral confidence in him. He knows their particular views, 
but in the assembly he is perfectly free to decide for him- 
self how he is to vote. 13 A delegate, on the other hand, 
is a mere agent and holds himself bound to vote in accor- 
dance with the views of his constituency, even though his 
own opinion of what the interests of the nation as a 
whole required might be different. How were the official 
members to speak and to vote in these assemblies, and the 
non-official members nominated by government? From 
1861 to 1892 the non-official members were free to speak 
and to vote according to their own judgment, for although 
they owed their nomination to the government, it was 
understood that they were nominated as the best men who 
could be found to voice the feelings and opinions of the 
people in the legislature. The members of the executive 
council, on the other hand, were the government ; although 
any of them might differ strongly from his colleagues, and 
although he might have exerted himself to the utmost in 
the privacy of the executive council to influence and alter 
their views, when a measure came before the legislature 
as a government measure, he was bound to act and to 
vote with his colleagues. This was not however always 
realised, and, as a matter of fact, "when divisions in the 
councils were recorded, it was by no means unusual that 
official members were as much divided among themselves 
as the non-officials." u Hence it was, that the question, 
how the officials who were not members of the executive 
government were to act and to vote, did not arise during 
this period in an acute form. 

13 Not local purposes, not local prejudices ars to guide, but the gene- 
ral good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose 
a member, indeed, but when you have chosen him, he is not member of 
Bristol, but he is Member of Parliament." — Burke. 

14 Sir V. Bhashyam Aiyangar: from his Note on the Minto-Morley 
proposals submitted to Government, 1908 — A. R, Aiyangar : Indian 
Constitution, (19lS), p. 161. 


The reforms of 1892 brought not only enlarged coun- 
cils but a new class of member : the nominated non-officia 
who was for all practical purposes an elected member. Hel 
began to undertake the role of 'His Majesty's Opposition'* 
his example also acted upon the non-official nominated 
member, and in the budget debate, the provincial official 
in the central legislature spoke up for his own province , 
and in the provincial legislature, often voiced local or 
departmental views as distinguished from the secretariat 
or government views. Modern civilised governments 
even when autocracries in fact are in appearance govern- 
ments by persuasion, and must, in the long run, command the 
intellectual ascendency of better information, larger views 
and more solid arguments than their critics, and the formal 
ascendency over them of a majority of some kind at the back 
of their decisions. The debates grew in interest, and the 
voting, when there was any, could not always be left merely 
to the balance of the argument and the good sense of the 
members. Government urged that all the officials were 
bound in honour to support them both in the debates and 
the voting, but especially the latter. There were protests 
against this from time to time, but as a rule the sense of 
discipline and solidarity prevailed. Thus arose the ' official 
bloc.' This however was not enough. Government by 
persuasion necessarily needs honest and independent 
support, high in quality, even if small in quantity. Offi- 
cial support even when absolutely honest and indepen- 
dent is generally discounted as merely official. A change 
of heart, a policy such as would beget trust and co-opera- 
tion, a spontaneous leadership of the people putting 
forth measures, both administrative and legislative, such 
as would remedy or remove grievances, elevate the 
status of the people, and secure their material and moral 
progress in increasing volume, would be the noblest way 
of winning such honest and independent support. In 
other words, a benevolent despot, or a philosopher-king 
such as Plato dreamed of, is theoretically the best means 


to bridge over the period of transition from a despotism! 
to a democracy. But autocracies in power are rarely 
able to adopt such a policy of gradual and progressive 
self-effacement, or to pursue it steadily for long. And, in 
any case, in the concrete world as it is, neither are the 
issues so plain, nor the remedies so easy. Is the goal of 
a democratic government and society the best goal for us? 
People differ. Best or middling or worst, is it practicable/ 
can it be attained ? There are again differences of opinion, 
thoroughly honest and passionately held. Granted for the 
sake of argument that we can all agree as to the goal, 
honest differences of opinion would again emerge at every 
step, as to the rate at which we should or could advance 
in that direction, and as to the concrete measures to be 
adopted at any time. And faced with such differences of 
opinion in a legislative assembly, the members of the exe- 
cutive government whose duty it is to obtain a majority 
for their measures, and who, besides, are not in a 
position to accept an adverse majority vote as a de- 
cision bringing them a release from responsibility* 
are inevitably driven by the pressure of the situa- 
tion, to adopt various arta to secure what they 
need so badly, viz. a majority clinging more or less uni- 
formly to their own side, and containing at least some 
elements in it (occasionally, if not always) of really honest 
and independent support. Thus we discover, as the 
situation develops, the non-oificial European members, 
nominated or elected, usually casting their votes with the 
official bloc ; the executive government exercising their 
power of nomination so as to obtain representatives of 
the people or of some section who are also 'safe and 
pliant; and executive officials manipulating elections and 
constituencies in various ways, more or less indirect. 
Soon precedents create practices, theseagain win recogni- 
tion as rules, and express orders follow, general or occa- 
sional, published for all to read or confidential. "In 
plain words, moderates" and non-party men, both amongst 


officials and non-orriciais, Indians and Europeans, "arc 
forced into the camp of extremists... Wherever this 
system has been long continued, government by 'influ- 
ence' has set in, degenerating into government by intrigue 
and ending in government by corruption." 1 * The only 
remedy is government by executives really responsible to 
representative legislatures. 

To avoid misunderstanding, we have to add in conclu- 
sion, that the above is a description of evil tendencies 
necessarily inherent in every system of elected legislatures •* 
not armed with control over the executive . The more ■- 
representative the legislature, the more certain is the 
degradation of politics, unless and until the executive- * 
through deadlocks, conflicts, dictatorships, and other inci- 
dents — drops its autocratic character and becomes re- 
sponsible, until the political sovereignty is transferred as a * 
matter of fact to the active-minded amongst the people, •■ 
whatever the changes adopted in the form of the constitu- 
tion. The course of political development in India could 
not entirely escape this tendency to degradation. That it 
was escaped, however, to a great extent, was due to seve- 
ral circumstances. The Indian legislatures from 1892 to % 
1909, though containing representatives who were really * 
elected, were in numbers mere toy assemblies, nor could . 
they claim a representative character. And when larger 
and more representative legislatures were introduced by 
the reforms of 1909, they had, luckily for India, but a 
short span of life. In less than five years the Great War 
was upon us, and brought about a radical change of con« 
stitution. The system of 1 858 was cast aside, India ceased - 
to be a dependency ruled from above, the principle of 
partnership was accepted for her relations with the other 
members of the Empire, the principle of responsible govern- 
ment was accepted for her internal constitution, and the 
only questions which remained for consideration were, 

15 Dyarchy p. 373. 


how far these principles were to be applied immediately, 
and through what stages they were to be further develop- 
ed to a full logical consummation. 

Wnkharjt I pp. 245-385: tho text, extraots from Minute*, Des- 
patches, Speeches, Resolutions, and the Central Council Regulations as 
amended upto 7-2-1918. 

ilbert pp e 102-125 and Appendices I, IX ©nd V. 

Morley Indian Speeches ( Maomillan, Also Natogan )« 

n JRecollections Bk. V. 

Cartis Dyarchy pp. S66-380* 

Report 1. C. R. ch 4 



§ 31 Under the Company, From law-making 
organs we pass on to courts whose function it is to apply 
and administer the laws. We have seen that the East 
India C ompany had established Mayor's Courts in 1726 in 
the presidency towns, and that their powers had been 
enhanced under revised letters patent in 1753 ; l tho pre- 
sident and council formed a court of appeal, and final 
appeals, in cases involving sums exceeding Rs. 4000, lay 
to the King in Council. We have also sseu that wherever 
the Company acquired zamindari rights zamindari courts 
had been set up, and in Bengal, soon after the acquisition 

1 Frkr to 1726 a court consisting of a lawyer ard two of the Co.'s 
servants decided suits under the Charter of 1863. The Charter of 1753 
provided that the courts were to entertain oiily such suits letween 
Indians as the parties of their own free will fcuhn i:tcd for their teci' 
sion. This limitation had r»o practical *fect in Bcmbsj Is'and, a 
colony of Indians Ircughfe -tcgetLei &td fcsteied ly tie Ctni-Li;. JlUit 
p 354; rtalhari ch £, 


of the diwani, civil and criminal courts, with the sadr 
aialats at the top, had been taken over by the Company 
and reformed (1772). Then followed, in Bengal, the 
Regulating Act, and the Supreme Court by royal charter 
( 26-3-1774 ) took the place of the Mayor's Court at Fort 
William. The conflict between the indigenous courts and 
the Supreme Court was moderated by a working compro- 
mise and by amending legislation. Lord Cornwallis 
reorganised the whole system of judicial administiation in 
Bengal and established district courts, provincial courts 
of appeal, and the sadr or highest and ultimate courts, for 
civil cases as well as criminal trials. "Every civil servant 
from the beginning of the nineteenth century has looked 
upon 1 793 as the commencement of a new era. The Corn- 
wallis Code, whether for revenue, police, criminal and 
civil justice, or other functions, defined and set bounds to 
authority, created procedure, by a regular system of appeal 
guarded against the miscarriage of justice, and has been 
the basis of every attempt to introduce law and order into 
each successive acquisition of districts and kingdoms."* 
And, above all, he introduced the principle of the supre- 
macy of law by laying down the rule that "the official acts 
of the Collectors might be challenged in the civil courts, 
that government itself might be sued like any private 
individual, and that such suits could on«y be cognizable by 
judges who had no direct or personal interest in enforcing 
the claims of Government," This foreign autocracy thus 
"divested itself of the power of infringing in its executive 
capacity on the rights and privileges which it had confer- 
red in its legislative capacity." 3 Recorders courts succeed- 
ed Mayor's courts at Madras and Bombay in 1798, and 
these were replaced in turn by Supreme Courts, at Madras 
in 1801 and at Bombay in 1824. District, provincial and 
sadr courts, criminal and civil, were created in both pre- 
sidencies as they acquired territories by wars and treaties 

2 Cortwallis pp 94*5. 

3 Qvrnvtilii* p. 9?. 


and on the same system embodying the same ideas and 
reproducing the same defects and difficulties as in Bengal. 
And as subsequent governors-general introduced changes 
in Bengal, they were adopted in these presidencies also. 
Thus district judges became district and sessions judges 
with criminal as well as civil powers, collectors and their 
higher assistants became magistrates, 4 and the inter- 
mediate provincial courts between the district and the sadr 
courts were abolished. Then followed the charter of 1833* 
The 1813 system of licenses was abolished, it was antici- 
pated that Englishmen would in consequence resort to 
India in numbers, and this circumstance, we have seen, 
had its due influence upon parliament. British subjects 
were entitled to have the same system of law and justice 
to live under in India as they were accustomed to in 
England, and a codification of law, a standardisation of 
procedure, and a single system of courts were seen to be 
necessary. Law Commissioners and a Law member of 
Council were accordingly appointed and the best men 
available were chosen for the posts. But, as George Camp- 
bell ( who later rose to be Lieutenant Governor of Bengal ) 
justly remarked, England then had hardly any jurists 
amongst her lawyers.* Macaulay, he admitted, had 
great and versatile talents, but he added, — "in these 
days of division of labour it may be doubted whether 
any man can become master of many great subjects; 
and assuredly of all tasks requiring the perfection 
of human skill, one of the most difficult is that of forming 
codes of law for a great country, strange to us, in which 

4 Id Bombay Madras and the N. W. P., (as also in the Non-Re- 
filiation provinces, of course ) one and the same officer was from the 
flrti and throughout both Collector and Magistrate. In Bengal proper 
there were various changes of system— Ramsay Macdonald\ p. 201, 

5 Modern India and its Government (1852). Chs, 11 and 12 are a 
valuable survey of the judicial system, its results and its defects, upto 
1852; they also include an independent estimate of the work done by the 

Law Owjwjftisfloa and its successors upto that 4at«. 


much that is indigenous had become disorganised, and 
little had been done to analyse the mass of old and new 
laws and customs." And if Macaulay was no jurist, 
"the men of Indian experience (added to the Commission), 
again, were no jurists" * either. No wonder, the Indian 
Penal Code and the Codes of Criminal and Civil Proce- 
dure, which they set about to compile took many years 
and even when completed excited a certain amount of 
quite legitimate opposition and dissatisfaction. 7 The 
code of Civil Procedure became law in 1859, and the code 
of Criminal Procedure in 1861 ; both have been repeatedly 
amended and improved since; the Indian Penal Code 
became law in 1860. 

§ 32 The Indian High Courts Act, r86i, abolish- 
ed the Supreme and Sadr Courts and established High 
Courts instead, one for each presidency ; their original 
jurisdiction, civil and criminal, was limited by the letters 
patent, to the presidency towns, but they were otherwise 
constituted the highest judicial authorities in and for their 

6 P. 220. 

7 " The draft ( of the penal code ) was strenuously criticised by 
many of the judges in India" — Gazetteer IV p 138. For a very differ- 
ent way of stating the facts see Sir James Stephen's well-known 
rodomontade : — "The long delay had the singular but most beneficial 
result of " subjecting the work of a Macaulay to •» a minutely careful 
revision " by a Sir Barnes Peacock ; M an ideal code ought to be drawn 
up by a Bacon and settled by a Coke" ( Strachey, p 103). With the 
highest respect for Sir James Stephen's erudition, it is impossible not to 
3mile at this. Macaulay was no more a Bacon than was Sir Barnes 
a Coke. 

The substantial excellence of the Indian Penal Code is due above &l\ 
to this that it was a composite result arrived at by several sets of minds 
each set working more or less jointly, and each set trying to carry the 
process onwards from the point at which it reached them, but also 
bringing to the task fresh points of view.- Macaulay was no more in 
this process -though* no less-tban the most active and the most disting 
uished member of the first set, Sir Barnes Peacock no more than the 
most painstaking and expert member of almost the last set. To assign 
the whole credit of t.bc pucc-er? to fctj&s* fewo only oy is the inaic ie 


presidency, superintending the work of all the other 
courts, regulating their practice, 2 and empowered to 
direct the transfer of any suit or appeal from any of them 
to any other of equal or higher jurisdiction. The ju Jgca 
were to be appointed by the Crown, their maximum 
number was fixed at sixteen, one third of the number 
including the Chief Justice were to be barristers, and 
another third were to be members of the covenanted civil 
service. The Act also empowered a fourth high court to 
be established, and the Allahabad High Court thus came 
into existence in 1866. The Indian High Courts Act, 
iqii, increased the maximum number of judges from 
sixteen to twenty, provided that 'additional' judges ecu id 
also be appointed, coch for a period of two years, smd 
empowered the creation of other high courts as they 
might be needed. This enabled the Bihar and Orissa 
High Court to be established in 1916, and the Punjab 
High Court in 1919. In place of a high court, Lower 
Burma still has its Chief Court, while Upper Burma, C. P. 
and Berar, N. W. F. P., and British Baluchistan have 
Judicial Commissioners. Non-regulated portions of re- 
gulated provinces, e. g. Sindh in Bombay and Oudh in 
U. P., have also at the head of their separate system of 
law courts, the ultimate court of a Judicial Commissioner/ 

These are the highest law courts in British India. 
Appeals from them to England are appeals to the King in 
Council, that is, under the Act for the better Administra- 
tion of Justice in H. M.'s Privy Council ( 1833 ), to the 
Judicial Committee of the Privy CounciL That Act made 
the Judicial Committee the one court of final appeal for all 
the colonies and dependencies of the empire, and persons 
of the highest legal talent and judicial experience in Eng* 

1 The rales, fonns, scale of fees, &c, were, before they went into 
force, to receive the sanction of the Governor General (or Governor) in 

2 Chief Courts and Judic!al CoMmissioners* courts derive their a$° 
thoirlty fr^ia ludUu legislation. 


land were appointed to constitute it, and were to be assis- 
ted by two retired judges, also appointed members of the 
Privy Council, from the parts to which the clients seeking 
British justice happened to belong. Sir Syed Amir Ali is 
the only Indian so far elevated to the Privy Council. The 
high court judges, additional judges, chief court judges , 
judicial commissioners, and additional judicial commission- 
ers in British India numbered seventy-three at the end 
of 1920; and sixteen of these posts, including one chief 
judge-ship, were held by Hindus, five by Muhammadans, 
and one by a Burman. This total of twenty -two includes 
two Hindus belonging to the I. C. S., five Hindu barristers 
and three Muhammadan barristers; only twelve out of 
eventy-three posts have as yet fallen to Indians who could 
not have risen to them as civilians or as barristers-at-law. 3 
This littic analysis of the facts is interesting in view of 
the repeated admissions of the bureaucracy that "natives shown themselves eminently qualified for the per- 
formance of judicial duties," that "the largest possible 
share in the administration" should be given to them, and 
that "in some branches of the service there is almost no 
limit to the share of public employment which they might 
properly receive." 4 Again, "the names of Dwarka Nath 
Mitcer in Bengal, Muttuswami Ayyar in Madras and Ra~ 
nade in Bombay need only be mentioned to prove that 
Indians have occupied scats on the benches of the char* 
tcrcd High Courts with distinction/' 5 And yet we find at 
the end of 1920 that the actual figures reveal the magni- 
ficent proportion of twelve out of seventy- three, nine 
Hindus, two Muhammadans and one a Burman. 

Mukharji I pp. 385-430. 
llbert ch 3 part IX. 

3 Compiled from the Indian year Look, 1QSL 

4 Slrachey. p. 546. 

5 Cazetteer IV p. 158. 


§ 33 Lower Courts, civil and criminal: For the 
administration of criminal justice there are: (1) Third 
Class Magistrates' courts with power to inflict a fine upto 
Rs, fifty and imprisonment for one month; (2) Second 
Class Magistrates' courts with power to fine upto Rs. two 
hundred and sentence to prison for six months ; (3) First 
Class Magistrates' courts which can fine upto Rs. one 
thousand and sentence to prison for. two years; 1 and 
higher than these (4) Sessions Courts, as a rule one for 
each district, w T hich can inflict any punishment authorised 
by law, subject, in the case of capital sentences, to con- 
firmation by the High (or Chief or Judicial Commission- 
er's) court. The amount of the punishment mentioned 
indicates but roughly the various offences which each of 
the Courts can try. The offence of trespass, for instance, 
varies from a simple house trespass to housebreaking and 
trespass by armed men who might also cause, before they 
leave the house they enter wrongfully, grievous hurt or 
worse to one or more of the people they find there. The 
first offence any third class magistrate can try, the last 
would have to be committed to the sessions. The powers 
of the magistrates vary also with the nature of the offence* 
Defamation, for instance, is not so serious an offence as 
theft, but while a third class magistrate can try cases of 
simple theft, no one lower than a first class magistrate ha* 
power to try a man on a charge of defamation, since it is 
far more difficult to decide in such cases whether the 
offence was really committed and what should be held to 
be the degree of the guilt. Again, offences against the 
State stand in a category of their own. The lower 
magistrates might not have the courage and independence 
necessary to acquit a man when it is the State that 
brings up a charge against him ; or even if some of them 
possess these qualities, few of them would be given that 
credit by the accused or by the general public. A court 
of session is therefore the lowest court empowered to 
1 Their powers are greater in non-regulation areas. 


deal with such cases. 2 These illustrations show that the 
powers and mutual relations of these courts cannot be 
settled on a simple logical plan, but various consider- 
ations have to be practically balanced, and a system such 
as will work has to be put in force by the supreme legis- 
lature of the land. For British India it is the Criminal 
Procedure Code that lays down the system, going into a 
deal of detail for the purpose. It also views a criminal 
trial from beginning to end and prescribes what the judge 
and the accused, the prosecutor and the defence pleader, 
the witness, the assessor and the juror, must and what each 
must not, as also what each might and might not, do 
throughout the trial. Every detail prescribed, prohibited 
or permitted is carefully designed for the protection of 
innocence and the furtherance of justice. 

The magistrate has a double personality, To judge 
the accused judicially and impartially about the crime he 
is charged with and on the evidence produced and admit- 
ted is only one part of his functions. Besides this judicial 
capacity he has another, which might be called investiga- 
tory. Magistrates and police have to work together in the 
prevention and removal of public nui6ances,the prevention 
of crime, the detection of the criminal, and the bringing 
up of the accused before the proper court to stand his trial; 
and while performing these duties the magistrates have to 
act as checks upon ignorant police zeal or inveterate police 
rascality, and to see that the police do not behave illegally 
or harrass people for nothing. The police must have 
certain powers for the adequate performance of the neces- 
sary functions which a complex modern society finds 
itself forced to entrust to them. But these powers are 
there with the police, as poison-drugs are there in the 
doctor's medicine chest : only the right drug i3 to be used, 
only on the right occasion, only in the right manner, only 
upon the righr person, only in the minimum close, and 

In some of these casss the Criminal Law Amendment Act. 1908 
rregofibes a bench of three ridgee. 



only for the minimum period of time. The doctor knows 
the potency of the drug, the rigid limitations fettering his 
discretion on every side, the risks of the slightest negli- 
gence, and he has no temptation to overlook these, indeed, 
every motive to observe them with all possible care and 
caution. The policeman's case is entirely different. The 
policeman's pursuit of crimes and criminals and suspected 
characters and obscure situations and shady circum- 
stances might itself easily become the worst of crimes 
against law and peace and order. The watch-dog might 
destroy the peace of mind of the poor flock long before he 
actually preys upon them. Hence it is that the law 
links up the magistrate with the policeman at almost every 
step in the latter' s performance of his duty ; the magistrate 
is so to speak a heart and a conscience super-imposed 
upon the policeman, which the latter is bound to report to 
and to consult and to obey, which of its own accord as- 
serts itself every now and then and compels its eyes and 
ears, hands and legs — the policeman — to better fuller 
prompter obedience. This is the essence of the complex 
relationships which the law of civilised societies sets up 
between their magistrates and their police officers : rela- 
tionships described in quite a maze of technicalities and 
unavoidably involving not a little latitude of discretion in 
the mutual behaviour of the two parties. Lastly, a man 
Is moulded by the work to which he sets his hand, and by 
the particular class of people he has to deal with and out- 
wit. To the policeman the people around him are either 
criminals or people who could, if they only would, help 
him in the performance of his duties against criminals* 
And the magistrate has to restrain this police temper and 
attitude of mind at every step. The magistrate, in his 
capacity as an investigatory officer, need not quite adopt 
the principle which is obligatory upon the judge, that every 
one is innocent until proved guilty, — he has to handle 
matters long before they are ripe enough for submission 
to a judge,— but still from the point of view of society at 


large, he would perform his duties all the better, if he goes 
on the maxim that policemen are bunglers, and so, when- 
ever in doubt, gives his decision against the policemen and 
in favour of the citizen haled up before him. 2 

The magistrates in the presidency towns are called 
presidency magistrates, their grades, powers and mutual 
relations are different, there also are honorary magi- 
strates and justices of the peace. In some provinces the 
village headmen and police patels are petty magistrates or 
?was/-magistrates ; in cantonments, again, the difference of 
system is not confined merely to details and names of the 
posts ; in N. W. F. P. and British Baluchistan local institu- 
tions, like jirgas (councils of elders), are utilised ; but the 
essence of the matter is as it has been described above in 
broad outline. 

The system of civil courts can be dealt with more 
briefly. (1) For many petty money-claims there are 
honorary arbitrators and other suitable volunteer 
agency, throughout a province for urban as well as rural 
areas. This type of civil court deserves to be carefully 
but widely extended with increased powers. 4 ( 2 ) For 
petty money-suits there are Small Cause Courts where ex- 
perienced judges give quick decisions at small cost and 
trouble to the parties. The powers of these courts are 
greater in preisdency towns than in mofussil areas. ( 3 ) 
Presidency towns have also insolvent debtors' courts since 
1848. ( 4 ) The Madras City Civil Court Act, 1892, creat- 
ed a City Civil Court which can deal with suits of a value 
not exceeding Rs. 2500, with strictly limited powers of 
amercement of property in execution of decrees. Such 
courts should be established for all the larger towns. And 

3 G. C. Whitworth. Rajkumar Law Lectures, lees. 16-22; a very 
simple and lucid account for the beginner of the nature and purpose of 
criminal law, law courts, and procedure. 

4 Some provinces have paid village munsifs for petty suits of this 


we have the courts of (5) the District Judge, (in some 
places also an additional or assistant Judge), (6) the First 
Class Subordinate Judge, and ( 7 ) the Second Class Sub- 
ordinate Judge or Munsif, for the mofussil, and ( 8 ) the 
High Court itself, in its original jurisdiction, for civil suits 
in the presidency towns. Each court has a fixed status 
and can entertain suits arising in a certain area and not 
exceeding a certain value. Every suit goes to the lowest 
court competent to try it but may be taken or transferred 
to any other court of equal or higher status. This applies 
to criminal cases also, and the District Magistrate and the 
District Judge perform the function of distributing the cri- 
minal and the civil work among the inferior criminal and 
civil courts in the district., 

Appeals are allowed very liberally both in criminal 
and in civil cases. First appeals are to the next higher 
court; second and third appeals go to the High Court or 
to the full bench of the High Court, and for really impor- 
tant suits the party feeling aggrieved can, under certain 
circumstances, go up even to the Privy Council. The 
High Court can also order reviews, revisions or retrials, 
and call for an explanation of anything unusual or irregu- 
lar. And special points of law are either referred by a 
lower to the High Court for decision, or appeals from the 
decision of a lower court because of some such special 
point are allowed. This system grew up as a result of various 
influences. The Supreme Court, the Chief Court, and the 
High Court, when introduced, were in advance of the 
requirements of the country, the feeling was that govern- 
ment owed to the people a better administration of 
justice than had till then been provided, these new insti- 
tutions were the instruments through which the reforma- 
tion was to come about, and it was natural to allow 
people to profit by the new blessing as much as possible. 
The codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure when first 
introduced were also a big step in advance. Even in the 


regulated provinces, " the evidence was ( till then ) taken 
by uneducated mokurrirs and read over to the judge, 
whose judgment was afterwards written by the sarishtadar. 
The judge thus tried after a fashion perhaps five or six 
oases at once. Such a system was not simple substantial 
justice unfettered by forms, but, it seems to me, a mere 
imitation of justice in which the correctness of the 
judgment must have been very much a matter of chance." 5 
But that no-system was what the district magistrates and 
judges all over the country had been accustomed to, and 
it was felt that some years at least must elapse and a new 
younger set of people accustomed to the stricter system 
of the new procedures must grow up, until the court! 
could be fully trusted and left as a rule to themselves^ 
Thirdly, when from the time of Lord William Bentinck 
Indians who had obtained some instruction in law came 
to be appointed as munsifs and subordinate judges, the 
people in the beginning looked at them askance, and 
they wanted a decision from the Huzur, either the magis- 
trate or the judge. Lastly, the judge has to decide after 
all according to the evidence ; unless the evidence is full 
and fairly reliable, no conceivable system can educe a 
right decision out of it. Now, in the old days which are 
delineated for us in the writings of the age of Sleeman and 
Meadows Taylor, the Englishman went into the village 
community or the bazaar, the craft- guild the temple or the 
fair, he appeared on the spot only a little while after the 
dispute arose, and the complainant, the defendent, their 
witnesses, the elders and repositories of custom, the learned 
in the law, public opinion and social and religious influ- 
ences, wore all there, every detail came out and was 
checked, and in that full glare of the Indian sun beating 
equally upon all, the gods whom Indians acknowledged 
were also present, the pieties and chivalries Indians res- 
ponded to were also felt, the complainant was fain to 

I Sir J, Stephen's Minute, ch %, 


reduce his complaint and the defendent to admit his 
responsibility as far as possible, and the Englishman had 
the happy privilege of being the universally respected 
medium through whom the good sense of the community 
as a whole corrected its more violent and erratic members, 
and maintained peace and executed justice. These idyllic 
conditions, however, could not last. The heroic dawn of 
shikaris and budmash-huntQTs who were also Daniels was 
transitory, and gave place to a morning during which the 
administration of justice was given over to the mohurrir 
and the sarishtadar. The educated munsif and subordin- 
ate judge were a vast improvement upon these, but, in the 
meanwhile, that other vital condition of seeming full and 
fairly reliable evidence, had somehow slipped out of the 
fingers of our foreign centralisers. Not that they were 
not aware of this. Campbell noted in 1852 l — 

"The longer we possess any province the more common and grave 
does perjury become, and the more difficult to deal with. The judicial 
oath, as it is used, does not in the very least affect the evidence. And 
yet this is not because the religious sanction of an oath is unknown to 
the people. On the contrary, it was nowhere stronger; and this is ano- 
ther of the changes caused by our system. In a new country, among 
the Jats of the North, I found that a solemn oath was astonishingly 
binding. Nothing was more common, in cases of cattle-raid, than for 
the plaintiff to demand the oath of the headmen of the suspected village. 
He took them out of court to some sacred place, or made them lay their 
right hands on the heads of their sons, and there in the face of their 
people swear a solemn oath. If they did so, the plaintiff was perfectly 
satisfied. If the cattle bad really gone to the village, the headmen would 
not swear, but made private restitution and produced the plaintiff's 
written declaration that he had become satisfied of their innocence. 
But such binding oaths do not exist in our older provinces."6 

They existed in full force in the pre-British days, the 
headmen, their solemn oaths, and their influence with the 
people. They survived into the British system for some 
time, but they did not suit the British centralisation of all 
authority and influence into Bfcrtish hands, and lingering 
on for a space, long or short, according to the sturdiness 

6 P. 48$. 


of the people, disappeared throughout British India. One 
consequence was, in Sir J. Stephen's words, that the 
"people appeared to regard falsehood in a European 
court as absolutely no crime or sin at all." 7 And it is to 
this that Sir J. Stephen himself principally attributes the 
liberality shown by the codes in respect of appeals. "The 
consciousness of this fact (that because of the unreliabi- 
lity of the evidence failures of justice must be 'very 
frequent') has, no doubt, coloured all legislation on 
procedure. Each of the codes of procedure proceeds 
upon the notion that an elaborate and intricate system 
of appeal is a security for the administration of sub- 
stantial justice." s "Appeal has apparently been always 
regarded in India as the one remedy for the defects in- 
herent in an administration of justice specified above. " 9 

One of the considerations repeatedly advanced in the 
official literature on the subject is that the absence of a 
press and of a strong bar in India left the careless, incom- 
petent or corrupt judge without any check, and it was 
therefore necessary to give the client an extensive right 
of appeal. This was perfectly true in the sixties of the 
nineteenth century. It was also the case that the laws 
and the procedure then recently enacted were not very 
familiar to the Indian and Civilian judges of the day. 
The need to centralise was also at the time paramount. 
Lastly, a new conception of law, a new ideal of the supre- 
macy of law had to be introduced amongst an alien people. 
Thus, historically speaking, the new system of the adminis- 
tration of justice had ample justification. There might be 
reasonable difference of opinion about some of its features, 
and more of its details, but its fundamental principles and 
the broad outlines of the organisation by which they were 
applied to the functions undertaken, could hardly be im- 

7 Ch. 3. 
S Ch. 3. 
9 Ch. 5 


But like the political constitution created for the 
governance of India at the same time, this judicial system 
has been maintained almost unchanged throughout the 
period from 1858 to 1920. Why? Reasons for improve- 
ments were accumulating fast decade by decade. The 
judges, the lawyers and the people had all progressed at 
a phenomenal rate during the interval ; but the system 
remained as it had been planned when introduced, 
although many of the grounds on which some of its most 
questionable features were defended then were admittedly 
of a purely temporary character. 

The blame must rest to some extent at least upon 
Indian lawyers and barristers and judges as a class. The 
Indian bar has not yet developed sufficient corporate sen- 
timent to enforce a high standard of professional morality 
or to restrain and reclaim and reduce the number and the 
influence of the black sheep among them. If the people 
have taken full advantage of the right of appeal, if they 
have failed to get the full benefit out of the facilities for 
arbitration allowed by law, if they can still be charged with 
litigiousnesb and an insufficient regard for truth and fair 
play, and a readiness to adopt any means to gain their 
suit or gratify their grudge, the lawyers without whose 
advice they dare not take a single step in such matters, 
cannot be acquitted of all blame. Indian lawyers have 
proved themselves good citizens and excellent patriots 
and rendered most invalaable services to their country 
politically and socially. Let them prove themselves 
equally good citizens and patriots even as lawyers. 

It might be objected that < public spirit even as law- 
yers ' is but a phrase, and that 1 restraining, reclaiming and 
reducing the numbers and influence of black sheep' is 
rather a tall order. So we might giVQ a little space to 
another concrete suggestion, just one, but equally far- 
reaching in character. " Of what use " asks Sir F. Lely, 
"is the extinction of bribery if it is replaced by stamps 


and fees to pleaders ? 1 have myself seen the accounts of 
legal expenditure incurred by a small landholder in fight- 
ing through all the courts for his son who was charged with 
murder. The total amount was Rs. 7,882-8-0, 10 which of 
course meant hopeless debt." 11 The stamps and the charges 
for certified copies of papers &c, are matters for govern- 
ment, and it is of course scandalous that Government 
should charge so much in this poor country on all such 
counts in criminal and civil cases as not only to recover 
the cost of their extremely topheavy dilatory and waste- 
ful department, but even to make a net income. The plea 
that high costs check litigiousness is a mere sophism and 
is twin-sister of the plea that high excise rates check drun- 
kenness. But the 'fees to pleaders' ? No one wants cri- 
minal lawyers to abate a pie of their gains from forgers, 
gamblers, and other pests of society; honest men with the 
instincts of gentlemen should feel a reluctance to try to 
defend such people and would be perfectly justified in 
charging fancy rates for such unpleasant though necessary 
tasks. But amongst the accused there always are — and 
there always will be until the police department become 
nationalised — a high percentage of people who are really 
innocent, and not a few who are, moneover, really deserv- 
ing of the greatest sympathy and all possible help. Have 
lawyers as a class ever attempted to distinguish such cases 
and treat them differentially ? How «can they expect the 
public to show real sympathy for theim as a class, if the 
only social rule they habitually follow is to make the ma- 
ximum profit out of their neighbour's difficulties and 
misfortunes ? Lastly, it is in the hands of the practising 
rank and file of the profession, much more than in the 
hands of legislature and judiciary combined, to give the 
country, in Dalhousie's pithy words, " a system of 

10 By no means an unusual amount.. Again, in civil suits about 
houses and lands, the costs often exceed the value of the property ip 
dispute many times over. 

11 Sugg&itions. p. 27, 



justice which will satisfy common sense." How can they 
expect the public to feel sympathy for them as a cla*« 
while in the performance of their daily duties they behave 
as ministers and guardians of mere forms and ceremonial 
rather than of substantial justice ? 

CtiaiUey Bk. II ohs 4 and 5. 

§ 34 Separation of Functions. In the ryotwari 
provinces the officers oi the revenue department are also 
the ' judicial courts ' from whom people have to try to get 
redress against themselves. For auch a union of functions 
there can be no defence, and it ought to have been dis- 
continued at the earliest possible moment after a division 
or even a district had become fairly settled. Again, in the 
Bombay Presidency, if a ryot felt after a new settlement of 
the revenue that his assessment had been fixed too high, 
hit only remedy was a petition to the Revenue Depart- 
ment, which forwarded it ' for report ° to the Survey 
department, and there was no reply. * 

" for at least a year, often for much more, Th9 offioial feeling waa 
that too muoh encouragement would bring down a swarm of, often vain, 
petitions far too numerous for the existing staff to cope with, and the 
popular feeling was that the Survey Department would not be ready to 
admit their own mistake. It was too like appealing to a judge against 
his own decree... The disinclination to stir up the mud after the work 
has onoe been fairly well done was natural, but should not be allowed to 
weigh against the honour of Government even in small things. ..Herein 
is a weak place whieh must be made good. " 

The Joint Select Committee of the houses of parlia- 
ment appointed to consider Mr. Montagu's Government of 
India Bill, 1919, observe in their Report — 

"- that the imposition of new burdens should be gradually brought 
more within the porview of the legislature. And in particular., they 
advise that the process of revising the land revenue settlecnente ought 
to be brought under closer regulation by statute as soon as possible. 
At present the statutory basis for charging revenue on the land varies 
in different provinces; but in some at least the pitch of assessment 

1 Sir F. Lely, 6ugge*tion9 p. 51. 


is entirely at the discretion of the executive government... The peopl* 
who are most affected have oo voice in the shaping of the system, and 
the rules are often obscure and imperfectly understood by those who 
pay the revenue. The Committee are of opinion that the time has come 
to embody in the law the main principles by which the land revenue is 
determined, the methods of valuation, the pitch of assessment, the 
periods of revision, t le graduation of enhancements, and the other 
chief processes which touch the well-being of the revenue payers"* 

Th~ claim of the Government of India has all along 
been that the right to land revenue was an immemoiiai 
right of the State in India, that they succeeded to it 
by conquest, that the Indian States whom they replaced 
were autocracies who did not tax people by legislation, 
and that this was one of those prerogatives of the Indian 
State which was theirs independently of parliament or of 
the legislatures set up by parliament. But the Govern- 
ment of India Act, 1920, has cut away these foundations 
from under them. A new era is beginning. The recom- 
mendations of the Joint Committee quoted above will 
have to be carried out at no distant date. And the popu- 
lar legislatures who will make the enactments will also 
consider at the same time, whether the ryot having a 
grievance against the Revenue and Survey Departments 
should have Arbitration Courts to go to, manned by the 
elders of the people, or at least judicial courts manned by 
officers independent of those departments, or whether the 
present system was to continue unchanged. 

A question that has excited far greater controversy 
is the union of executive and magisterial functions, which 
distinguishes the organisation of the district administra- 
tion. The principal revenue officers of the district are 
also magistrates. And the subordinate judges who might 
be magistrates are in their magisterial capacity the 
subordinates of the civilian head of the district, who is 
both Collector and District Magistrate. This "strange 
union of the functions of constable and magistrate, public 

2 P. 12. 


prosecutor and criminal judge, revenue collector and 
appeal court in revenue cases" 3 has been repeatedly 
condemned from the time of Lord Cornwallis. Mr. (after- 
wards Sir J.) Grant condemned it in 1854, pointing out 
that the union of functions had become all the more 
objectionable since the judicial powers of magistrates had 
been " raised six times higher than they were in the days 
of Lord Cornwallis." The Court of Directors advised a 
little later (Despatch No. 41, Judicial, September 1856) 
that the administration of the land revenue should be 
separated from the police, and that the management of the 
police should be taken out of the hands of the magistrate. 
But the Police Commission of 1860 came to the conclusion 
that the union, however anomalous and indefensible, was, 
in the circumstances of India, unavoidable, as a practical 
and temporary convenience, at least in the exceptional 
case of the district officer. Act V of 1861 thereupon gave 
fresh legislative authority for a system which has continu- 
ed ever since. In the debate on the second reading, Sir 
Bartle Frere said on behalf of the Government, "it was 
one thing to lay down a principle, and another to act 
upon it at once and entirely, when it was opposed to the 
existing system, to all existing forms of procedure, and to 
prejudices of long standing... He hoped that at no distant 
period the principle would be acted upon throughout 
India as completely as his hon. friend could desire." • The 
hope, remarks the weighty memorial from which the above 
quotations have been taken, has yet to be fulfilled. 

It is impossible to find space for a history, however 
brief, of the efforts made by Indian public opinion to get 
this union of functions altered,, But gradually the ruling 

3 From the Memorial on the subject to the S. S. for India submit- 
ted in 189J by Lord Hobhouse, Sir Richard Garth and others; qu< ted 
in extenso in Abdur Rahim's Minute of Dissent, Islington Com-mimwn 
Report. The memorial -was one of the results of the persistent efforts of 
the Indian National Congress to enlighten and organise opinion in 
England and India on the subject. 


bureaucracy have themselves become divided on the sub- 
ject. Thus, in the budget debate in the central council in 
1908 Sir Harvey Adamson, tho member of council in charge 
of the Home Department, admitted : 

"The exercise of control over the subordinate magistrates by whom 
the prt at buik of rr miaul case, are tried, is the point wbt re the 
present system is defective If the control is exercised by the off.cor 
■who is responsible for the peace of the district, there is the constant 
danger that the subordinate magistracy may be unconsciously guided 
by other than purely judicial considerations. ..It is not enough that the 
administration of justice should be pure ; it can never be the bed-rock 
of our rule unless it is also above suspicion." 4 

The theoretical case in favour of a separation can 
hardly be put more strongly. 

Another important fact is that the union does not pre- 
vail to the same extent all over British India. "In the 
presidency towns separation is an established fact. In 
Madras it already exists in the lower grades. la Bengal 
where there is already complete separation so far as the 
provincial civil service is concerned, 5 additional district 
magistrates have been established in certain areas. 
Administrative exigencies will doubtless carry the process 
of separation further, stage by stage. " c 

In the new era that is dawning we may reasonably 
look forward to a reformed police department, the higher 
posts in which are manned in increasing numbers by 
Indians with a high sense of public duty; the number of 

4 Quoted in Abdur Rahira's Minute. Lord Curzon wished the 
question "to be taken up and dealt with in my time," but it was ore of 
the questions he could not handle as he had to resign his post sjon 
aff er he began his second term of office. — Raleigh I p. 137. 

5 Evidently, Eombay is herein behind both Madras and Bengal, 
here the uni n prevails in the subordinate as well as the provincial 
grades, for revenue oiiicers *>f both grades are armed with magisterial 
powers, :*nd as Sir M. Cbauhal pointed out in his dissenting Minu-e, 
their legal training (excepting those few 6a s s anv ngst tbem who had a 
law degree) 1- ft much to be desired. Islington Report, 1. 237-8. 

6 Islington Report, I. 194-$. 


Indians in the Indian Civil Service itself will also increase 
though not so 1 quickly nor to the same extent. Under 
these circumstances, the question of a separation will 
enter upon a new phase altogether. As the analysis in 
an earlier section will have shown, the crux of the pro- 
blem is the amount of power which must be given to the 
police for the prevention ar.d investigation of crime : the 
problem is how to restrain abuses of that power. If the 
superior ranks of the police and their superiors, — the half 
a dozen men at the head of the executive administration of 
a distiict — know the people, sympathise with their aspira- 
tions, and can inspire trust in the minds of the popular 
leaders and representatives of the district, the popular 
demand that the power to check abuses of these powers 
be handed over to the judiciary, and the departmental 
demand, that the executive officers be also armed with the 
judicial functions of trying accused persons, will both 
weaken in force ; and honorary magistrates will at the 
same time increase in numbers and influence and can also 
be entrusted with wider and higher functions than at 

J. Ramsay Macdonald eh. 14, 
Chesney ch. 9. 

§ 35 Privileged position of European British subjects. 
It has been remarked times without number that under 
the Hindu Law Brahmans had privileges intolerable in any 
civilised community and that under the Muhammadan law 
non-Muhammadans had equally intolerable disabilities. 
But— let him alone cast stones that is himself really above 
reproach. Every empire-builder has sinned more or less 
against liberty and justice and humanity and for a longer 
or shorter period. The only difference is that while some 
have done so frankly and openly, others have done so 
otherwise, and it is purely a matter of opinion and stand- 
point whether to look upon this additional feature as mere 


hypocrisy, and even so, whether to regard it as giving the 
sin a deeper tinge or rather as the homage that vice ren- 
ders to virtue. Much more important and infinitely more 
helpful it is to study in the first place all the circumstances 
under which the original injustice arises, and in the second 
place the historical process by which the initial sin is 
slowly but surely attenuated and refined away. By handl- 
ing the facts in this large and connected manner constitu- 
tional history reveals the higher truth-the higher justice-as 
it is in process of development, increases the strength, 
accelerates the pace and improves the quality of that 
development, and best performs its civilising mission of 
spreading broad-minded toleration, fraternal understand- 
ing, and political patience linked with a reasonable and 
continuous upward political endeavour towards the ideal. 

The Europeans who accepted the Company's service 
and came to India were placed under the Company's juris- 
diction from the very first charter, and the extent of this 
jurisdiction was increased and defined more fully by later 
charters as experience indicated the directions in which 
such additional powers were necessary. The independent 
European appearing within the geographical limits assigned 
to the Company was a transgressor of the monopoly legally 
assigned to it and the Company could confiscate his goods, 
seize his person and bring him back to England.' The 
next step was, the Company was empowered to set up 
courts so constituted that there was to be at least one 
lawyer sitting on them. These were followed by mayor's 
courts and by the appointment of the president and mem- 
bers of his council as justices of the peace. The Supreme 
Court at Calcutta succeeded, a King's Court with full 
jurisdiction criminal and civil over all European British 
subjects. Finally, the charter of 1793 allowed British 
inhabitants not in the Company's service tip be nominated 

lot III of 1864 still empowers Indian governments to order any 
out of British India and oompel obedieuoe.— llbcit p. 88. 


J. P. s in all presidencies, and every such J, P. was to 
serve in the presidency and in the places subordinate to 
it named in his commission of appointment ( § 151 ). 

With the charter of 1813 the number of European 
British subjects settling in India increased ; the Company 
gave them every facility for settling down permanently as 
planters and in similar capacities. A Eurasian commu- 
nity had also been springing up at a fairly rapid rate* 
And the charter of 1833 was expected to bring further 
large additions to the permanent settlers as well as the 
temporary members of the class. Lord Cornwallis, we 
have seen, had organised the administration of justice 
systematically and improved the personnel. Haileybury 
and Addiscombe had begun to send out civil and military 
officers of a far better type, and Wellesley and his con- 
temporaries had inspired them with higher ideals. The 
district judges were in every case 2 to be officers belong- 
ing to the covenanted service and the educated Indians 
whom Bentinck had begun to appoint under them were 
doing excellent work and showing a remarkable moral 
advance upon the older class of Indians in the Company's 
service. Under these circumstances government took 
the first step towards reducing the exceptional position of 
the European British subject, by passing an Act which 
has come to be known in history as Macaulay's Black 
Act, 1836. 

In the presidency towns the European British Subject 
had no privileges, as all alike were under the jurisdiction 
of the Supreme Court. In the mofussil, however, they 
could bring civil suits against Indians, but if Indians 
brought such suits against them, they could plead that the 
local court had no jurisdiction over them. This meant 
that the Indian had no legal remedy unless, however 

small the amount, he could move in his behalf a court that 

- ■■..<- . --■-..••■. 

% The prorfaoial eourti wew abolished, 1831 


was far off, and very slow and costly 2 besides. It was 
this state of things that Macaulay's Act XI of 1836 put to 
an end. The opposition to the measure was confined to 
the European inhabitants of Calcutta and was of a chara- 
cter 4 that could be ignored. A petition from them to the 
house of commons led to a motion for an inquiry into the 
operation of the Act, which fell through without a division 

As soon as the penal and criminal procedure codes 
had been passed a similar reform to bring this privileged 
class under the same criminal courts as the rest of the 
population became possible. The amalgamation of the 
sadr and supreme courts into the High Court deprived the 
community of the strongest technical ground in favour of 
the exceptional immunity they had enjoyed, And their 
brutal behaviour at the time of the indigo-riots (1860-1) 
had shown how urgently a reform waa needed. But 
during the generation that had gone by, they had increased 
in numbers and in influence ; the old antagonism between 
the Company's servants and other Europeans had become 
a thing of the past ; the recent experiences of the Mutiny 
had created a fraternal feeling which had drowned for the 
moment the pride of the true blue European ; 5 and 

3 For the ruinous costliness of the Supreme Courts of Calcutta and 
Madras see a quotation from Macaulay's minute on the subject of the 
Black Act,— Strachey, p. 117. 

4 Trevelyan, Life and Letters of M. ch 6, pp 287-9. 

5 Chailley shows the perspicacity of the French intellect in noting 
that Englishmen "only regard as real English those -who are so twice 
over, by blood and by surroundings. This distinction does not appear 
in the lawa,...but it exists ell the same." The children of English 
parents brought up and educated in India are "treated as English 
of India and esteemed inferior to the English of England" (pp 534-5). 
According to the legal definition, a master-piece of jingo classification 
for which India has to thank Sir J. Stephen, a European British subject 
is a.„British subject born> naturalised or domiciled anywhere in the 
Empire, except Asia and Africa — counter exceptions: Cape Colony and 
Natal— or any child or grand-child of any such person by legitimate 
descent. As Chailley has commented, the definition "would include a 
Zulu l" (p 460). And we might add that, it is quite impossible to say 
offhand whether G»n»r*? Smuts, for instance, would be included 



Englishmen — and Englishwomen, too — were in the first 
flush of a new hope just dawning before their eyes, that 
here, even in this land of exile, they might build up dear 
little Englands in many a piace where they could lead all 
by themselves just the same life as in the home-land. 

One condition appeared necessary to the realisation of 
bo sweet a dream : the complete exclusion of Indians from 
these green little areas scattered all over this vast country : 
that condition, however, was the sine qua non. Nor was it 
they thought really much to ask of the Indian, in return for 
all they had done and were going to do for him, to allow 
them such exclusive enjoyment of a few hundred patches 
like that out of his vast country, some of which, moreover, 
he, left' to himself, would never have cared to occupy. 6 
But their predecessors, before whose eyes a possibility like 
this had never dawned, had had other dreams and visions 
in the course of their strenuous lives, which they had given 
out from the house-tops. Eloquent speakers had given 
expression to them from their places in parliament, and 
parliament and Crown had turned them into solemn laws 
and sacred promises which had been communicated to 
Indians in the most public manner with every circumstan- 
ce of impressive pomp and binding ceremonial. Even 
when parliament passed that schedule which created the 
covenanted servants into a closed service, they would not 
debar Indians as Indians from competing at the examina- 
tions ; and the spirit of the times was such that a commit- 
tee of the first members of the India Council actually 
recommended that the competitive examinations should be 
held simultaneously both in India and in England, and 
that "in justice to the Natives three colloquial oriental 
languages should be added to the three modern European 

6 Simla, for instance, which the army officers discovered, and Sir 
John Lawrence began regularly to make the seat of the government of 
India for several months every year. 


languages" in the examination. 7 And though that report 
was not acted upon, it was even forgotten, parliament and 
ministers were, they perceived, not going to let well alone. 
Noticing that a decade had gone by and Indians had found 
it very hard indeed to enter the covenanted service, 8 the 
Duke of Argyll provided in the Act of 1870, "additional 
facilities for the employment of natives of proved merit 
and ability" in some of the highest posts listed in the 
schedule, without their having to succeed at the examina- 
tion in England. The Englishmen in possession in India 
delayed taking action upon this as long as possible, but 
they knew it could not be suppressed altogether as had 
been the report of 1860. Hence what they attempted was 
to nullify it in effect in an indirect way. It is a very 
instructive case of executive ingenuity trying to get 
round legislative liberality. The Criminal Procedure Code 
was then under consideration for various amendments, 
there was no King in Israel — Lord Mayo had just 
been assassinated, and the officiating governor general, 
whatever his own views, had not the power to set 
aside a majority of the council — and these peculiar 
circumstances were seized, and section 4.43 of the code 
was drafted so as to make it impossible for an Indian 
even though a member of the covenanted service and a 
district magistrate, to try any charge in the mofussil 
against a European British subject. The immunity the 
European had enjoyed ever since Mir Jaffar's fateful 
conspiracy, and outside Calcutta even after the Supreme 
Court had been established, was thus surrendered, and he 
was made amenable to the criminal law even in the 
mofussil, but on condition that the officer trying him was 
himself a European. The introduction of this racial bar 

7 Sir J. Willoughby, Sir E. Perry, and Messrs Mangles, Macnaugh- 
ten and Arbuthnot were the Committee; the report is dated January 20, 

8 Tagore was the first successful Indian, for several years after 
him no one else succeeded. 


created a smaller body of pure Europeans with full 
powers, inside the body of covenanted civilians, whom the 
supreme legislature wanted to dilute with the introduction 
of Indians to their ranks. The motive was the spirit of 
exclusion and superiority which was growing up fast under 
the influence of the memsahib and of such natural but 
greedy measureless and impossible dreams as have 
been sketched above. And the bar was put up in 
such a manner that these Indians, though brought 
to their high offices by the supreme legislature 
and their own merits, would yet feel their racially 
inferior position perpetually as an unbearable indignity. 
The manner in which this amendment was passed was as 
remarkable as its provisions. It was passed by seven votes 
against five, but the five dissentient votes were the votes 
of a majority of the executive council, each of whom also 
spoke in support of his vote. The officiating governor 
general ( Lord Napier of Murchistoun ) and Sir B. Ellis 
said the new section was a stigma on the educated native 
of India. The Lieutenant Governor of Bengal ( Sir George 
Campbell ), the Commander in Chief and Sir Richard Tem- 
ple said that Indian members of the covenanted service 
should be accepted as real members of it. But Sir John 
Strachey and Sir James Stephen had their majority and they 

In another ten years the number of Indians in the 
covenanted service increased to nine : six in Bengal, two 
in Bombay and one in the U. P., the statutorv civilians 
appointed from 1879 raised the total to thirty-three, and 
under the Act of 1870 it was expected that these numbers 
would go on increasing until Indians filled one-sixth of the 
covenanted appointments. Beside*, the racial bar had 
already created difficulties in the way of promoting three 
of these to appointments which they had from every other 
point of view fully deserved. • The Bengal Government, 

9 8e» Life of R. t\ Dult, ch 4. 


where the difficulty had first arisen, proposed that the 
racial bar should be removed and all district magistrates 
and sessions judges, Indian as well as European, should 
have the same criminal jurisdiction over European British 
subjects. All other governments concurred, with the 
single exception Of Coorg, and thus arose the liber t Bill, 
which was referred to the Secretary of State in Council, 
and when approved of by them, introduced into the 
legislative council by Lord Ripon's government in 1883. 
The European community all over India at once rose up 
against it as one man, and started an agitation unprece- 
dented in its violence. Indians had not dreamt that 
apparently reasonable and self-restrained people should, 
when excited by mass-feeling, be so carried away by 
pride of race and contempt for themselves. The provin- 
cial governments urged that racial feelings should be 
somehow pacified at any rate for the moment, the execu- 
tive council gave way, suggestions for a compromise 
which had been received from Bombay and in one parti- 
cular from Madras were acted upon, and when the Bill 
became law as Act III of 1884, it provided that European 
British subjects might be tried by district magistrates or 
sessions judges, whether Indian or European, but they 
could in every case, however trivial, claim a jury, half of 
whom at least were to be Europeans or Americans. The 
bar against Indian covenanted or statutory civilians was 
thus removed, but only by the creation of a new privilege 
in favonr of the European British subject, a privilege 
peculiar to India, for no Englishman can claim a jury in 
England itself in a magistrate's court. Kristo Das Pal, 
Syed Amir Ali, and Raja Shiva Prasad pointed out in the 
course of the debates that this would in many cases mean 
a failure of justice. A jury is a suitable instrument in the 
administration of justice only when its sympathy for the 
accused is moderated by a sympathy for the injured party 
and a patriotic regard for the true interests of the gene- 
ral public. Anglo-Indian juries have not been exemplary 


juries in this sense, and there have been one knows not 
how many hundred cases in which, while the injured In- 
dians have died or suffered grievously, the juries have not 
been able to see anything beyond simple hurt or mere 
accident. Lord Ripon, however, while admitting that if 
failure of justice occurred to any extent under the new 
Act, "it would undoubtedly be an intolerable evil, did not 
think such fears well founded," and no successor of his 
has yet found it possible to reopen the subject. 

Proceedings Q. G.'s Legislative Council, 1883-4. 
K. T. Shall Governance of India, ch 7. 


§ j 6 Village India. From the law courts with their 
shrewd unreliable witnesses, contentious lawyers and 
the judge, mild and slow, under the punkha, we pass on 
to the villager and his fields, his children growing up in 
squalor almost like cattle, his cattle sharing the same 
room and the same affection as his children, and the dust 
and the glare over all. India is primarily agricultural. 
Of the population of India seventy per cent live directly 
by agricultural occupations, and at least fifteen per cent, 
more by occupations nearly allied to agriculture. The 
same broad feature reappears in another aspect when we 
find that of the total population eightyfive millions live in 
four" hundred and thirty thousand villages, each sheltering 
less than five hundred souls, and sixty millions more live 
in 77000 villages, each sheltering from five hundred to 
one thousand souls only. 1 In the whole of this vast land 

1 There are said to be 728,605 villages in British India with 
an average population of 364 each, Dyarchy t p. 24.0. 


there are not two thousand places with a population 
each of five thousands or more. This is all the more sur- 
prising when we find how densely the people are crowded 
together in large parts of the country. Bengal has an ave- 
rage density of 413 to the square mile, with a maximum 
density of 656 ; U. P. has an average density of 445, with 
a maximum of 75 1 . The predominantly agricultural chara- 
cter of the country stands revealed once more from ano- 
ther point of view when we find that the population living 
by textile and similar industries is not yet ten millions, by 
commerce, transport and building occupations, not yet 
eight millions, and by mines, metals, glassware, earthen, 
ware, &c. not yet five millions. 

§ 37 Pre-British Land Revenue. In ancient times 
the village community inhabiting each of the Indian villa- 
ges was self-governing. The small percentage of the non- 
agriculturists included in the village, such as potters, car- 
penters, barbers, druggists, priests &c, rendered important 
services to the villagers, and were paid in kind for each 
service rendered, or by periodical shares in the crops, or 
by an assignment of fields in the village. The state and 
its officials were also paid in kind by shares in the crops. 
We find in the ancient books T Vth, £ th, £th, 1th, £th, and 
i rd mentioned as the legitimate share of the State. 1 Irri- 
gated crops and other rich crops were taxed at a higher 
rate. The cultivable land was also arranged in classes 
according to quality, and the superior lands bore higher 
rates. Lastly, the organisation of the primitive Indian 
State was quasi-feudal, so that some of its officials were 
paid, by the State relinquishing to them its own share of 
the produce in one or more of the villages. Thus, what 
we now call land revenue and jagirs or zamindari have ex- 
isted in India from times immemorial. Money payments 

1 See Mariv VII 115-124 ; 128-133; X 118-20; and similar passage! 
in the other law-givers. 


instead of shares of the harvest, and assessments uniformly 
levied for a whole cycle of years, were also known in pre- 
Muhammadan times. In fact, the celebrated land revenue 
settlement of Akbar and Todar Mall was copied with im- 
provements from the earlier settlement of Sher Shah, and 
his was only a systematic organisation of the indigenous 
system that had prevailed from pre-Muhammadan times in 
the Gangetic plain. And, later, when the Mogul empire 
extended this system to the Khandesh, Berar and Ahmed- 
nagar Subas, it was varied and improved to suit those 
districts in accordance with the earlier system of Malik 
Ambar, which itself was the lineal descendent of the 
settlements of the old Yadava, Rashtrakuta, Vijayanagar, 
and Chola kingdoms. 

When the East India Company succeeded by con- 
quest and treaty right to the position of the sovereign, 
first in Bengal and later in other parts of India, they 
found that land revenue, customs, and a few monopolies 
like that of salt, were the only recognised and traditional 
modes for the state to derive a regular income from the 
population. The old system had many merits when 
administered by a strong state like the Mogul Empire. But 
with the decay and downfall of that empire, as also of the 
kingdoms that had succeeded it in every part of India, all 
regular administration vanished, and there was corruption 
and oppression everywhere. All records, all rights, all 
customs, all checks, all co-ordination had disappeared. 
The officials of the state and the money-lenders who 
advanced to the state the proceeds of whole districts and 
then tried to recoup themselves from the villagers, squeez- 
ed the villagers all they could, while paying as little into 
the state coffers as possible. The villagers also resisted 
payment as much as possible. Predatory bands large and 
small ranged over the country at all seasons, and India 
which had prospered wonderfully for a century from about 
1575 to 1675 had already by 1750 sunk back into the 
depths of poverty. Extensive provinces were becoming 


overgrown with jungle, famines were frequent, wars were 
incessant, and population and cultivation were shrinking 
up at an alarming rate. With each province, as the East 
India Company came into possession, its first duties as 
ruler were ( 1 ) to guard the frontiers, ( 2 ) to suppress and 
prevent internal disorders, and ( 3 ) to settle the popula- 
tion on the land as quickly as possible, in order that agri- 
culture, industry, trade, population,and wealth might revive . 

§ 3S The Permanent Settlement. The East India Company 
undertook the revenue administration of the Lower Provin- 
ces in 1765. They found that the Nawabs had handed over 
the collection of the revenue from the villages to the highest 
bidders at annual auctions. The Company kept up this 
system of farming, in spite of its grave defects, for seven 
years; but in 1772, when they had acquired some know- 
ledge and insight into the matter, they made a settlement 
for a period of five years. This, however, turned out 
a failure, and annual settlements were resumed, until in 
1789, they made a settlement for a period of ten years. 
And this settlement was, by a proclamation of the twenty- 
second of March 1793, 1 declared perpetual. This is the 
well-known Permanent Settlement of Bengal, and as, 
under it, a Zamindar, and not the ryots actually tilling the 
soil, is responsible to the State for the annual land revenue 
from his zamindari, it is also known as the Zamindari sys- 
tem. In 1795 the Zamindari system was extended to 
Benares, and in 1802 to parts of the Madras presidency. 
Altogether, about one-fifth of the assessed area of British 
India is under this system. 2 

Bengal is a land altogether dominated by its great 
rivers. On account of their floods, the fields in Bengal have 

1 This proclamation was reissued a little later as Regulation 
I of 1793. 

2 Fire-sixths of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa'; one-eighth of Assam; 
one-tenth of U. P.; and one-fourth of Madras; together amounting 
to one-fifth of British India, and including the richest part of it 
Diarchy, p. 24$. 



an ever-shifting character; a twenty or thirty years' settle- 
ment there is altogether out of the question. On the other 
hand, for a fresh and equitable settlement every three or 
five years, a detailed survey would be necessary every 
time, and the Company's establishments in those days 
were too small, too ignorant of India, too corrupt, to at- 
tempt such a vast and technical undertaking with the remot- 
est chance of success. The famine of 1770 had been an 
awful calamity, large areas were still jungle, and both 
agriculture and commerce appeared to the best observers 
to be in a state of rapid decay. To the Company in those 
days a regular and certain income, practically without any 
trouble to collect it, was of incalculable value. To create 
such an income it was absolutely necessary to bestow on 
the zamindars valuable property rights in the land. It was 
also thought advisable to strike the imagination of the peo- 
ple of India from one end of the continent to the other, 
by conferring on the subjects of the Company in Bengal 
such rights as no ruler of India had ever granted in the past. 
Nor is this merely a surmise. The Court of Directors 
were fully aware that under the Mogul government the 
zamindars had "a certain species of hereditary occupancy, 
but the sovereign nowhere appears to have bound himself 
by any law or compact not to deprive them of it, and the 
rents to be paid by them remained always to be fixed by 
his arbitrary will and pleasure, which were constantly 
exercised upon this object... Though such be our ultimate 
view of this question, our originating a system of fixed 
equitable taxation will sufficiently show that our intention 
has not been to act upon the high claims of Asiatic 
despotism. We are on the contrary for establishing real, 
permanent, valuable landed rights in our provinces ; for 
conferring that right upon the Zamindars; but it is just 
that the nature of this concession should be known, and 
that our subjects should see they receive from the 
enlightened principles of a British Government what they 
never enjoyed under the happiest of their own. *' And 


again, "in giving our opinion on the amount of the settle- 
ment we have been not a little influenced by the convic- 
tion that true policy requires us to hold this remote 
dependent dominion under as moderate a taxation as will 
consist with the ends of our government." 3 

It has been frequently asserted that the decision was 
to a large extent influenced by the fact that English land- 
lords like Cornwallis and Pitt were naturally predisposed 
in favour of landlordism. But those who examine the 
voluminous reports, minutes and other papers of the time 
incline to the view of Sir John Kaye that " it was empha- 
tically the work of the Company's civil servants — mem- 
bers of the middle classes who had come out to India in 
their boyhood — and they had been incubating it for a 
quarter of a century." 4 Amongst their motives the political 
one of conciliating the middle and higher classes of the po- 
pulation, who had helped materially in the establishment 
of the Company as the ruling power, and "had not foreseen 
that the conquerors would exclude them from offices of 
state and command of troops, " finds repeated mention. 
And it was fully intended that the subordinate rights 
of the tenants under the Zamindars were also to be safe- 
guarded. The historical outcome of these various influ- 
ences was the permanent zamindari settlement of Bengal. 
Under the system the land is the property of the Zamindar. 
He could sell, mortgage, and bequeath it at will. The only 
defect in his full ownership was that the state had a charge 
upon it of a certain fixed annual revenue, to be paid on a 
fixed date ; this the state solemnly pledged itself never to 

3 From paras 20 and 21 of their despatch of 19-9-1792. See also 
para 47, where they further observe that "this degrading struggle 
for taxes and rents" which had perpetually occupied the government, 
had denied it the "leisure to turn its cares to other functions of the 
ruling power, to the internal regulation of the community, the establish- 
ment of wholesome laws, and the due administration of them. ' Mr. L. 
C. Ray has reprinted the Despatch in his Permanent Settlement of 
Bengal (1915), pp. 41-70. 

4 Kaye Administration pp 163-199. 



increase at all ; but if the Zamindar failed to pay it punctu- 
ally, the state was empowered to sell off the estate by 
auction. The Zamindar was to realize rents from his cul- 
tivators ; he had to grant them written agreements, and 
was to respect their customary rights and privileges, nor 
was he to exact extortionate rents from them or op- 
press them. 

As noted above, Benares and some of the northern dis- 
tricts of the Madras presidency were also placed under the 
Permanent Settlement. The total rents the zamindars were 
expected to realise from their cultivators, at the time the 
system was introduced, were set down at about Rs. five 
and a half crores ; and the settlement was, that out of this 
they were to pay to the state as land revenue ten ele- 
vanths, or Rs. five crores, keeping only half a crore to them- 
selves. But population was expected to increase and 
cultivation to extend, and the zamindars were to find their 
gain in stimulating this process energetically, for all the 
extra rents they thus obtained were to remain in their own 
pockets. This expectation has been justified by the event. 
During the ten to thirteen decades that have gone by, cultiva- 
tion has extended, population has increased, and Bengal 
especially has prospered to such an extent, that the zamin- 
dars now receive from their tenants, let us say, Rs. twenty 

crores. 5 And the State is debarred by its solemn pledges 

■ ■ — ' — i n — 

5 The figures given above do not claim to be exact. Statistically 
and chronologically exact figures do not often give the pith of the 
matter as simply and clearly, as figures used with a certain freedom, 
but chosen, nevertheless, with great care. Such rounded figures have 
the further advantage of enabling a summary statement to be made 
that would be substantially correct for relatively long periods; for the 
actual figures are of course different from year to year. 

The annexed table gives the actual figures for one district, the dis- 
trict of Faridpur,at the northern angle of the Bay of Bengal,area 2464 sq. 
m„ population ( 1901 ) over two millions, cultivated area 1*6 million acres. 

In 000 Rs. 




Land Revenue 






—J. C. Jack Economic Life of a Bengal District, 1916, pp. 115-6- 


from taking from them a pie more than the originally 
fixed five crores. Thus the Zamindars now derive 
an annual income of Rs. fifteen crores, a sum that is 
thirty times the income that was originally left to 
them. In Hindu and Muhammadan Law brothers are 
equal sharers in the property of their father, and so 
the permanent settlement has created in the parts of India 
where it prevails, a strong and well-to-do middle class. 

§ 39 Tenant Right. From the first there were layers 
of intermediaries between the zamindar at the top and the 
mass of cultivators actually tilling the fields of the estate 
at the bottom. As it came to be realised that the peace and 
security established by British rule were of a more durable 
and thorough-going character than ever before within his- 
torical memory, the number and variety of these interme- 
diary tenure-holders under rights acquired from those im- 
mediately above them went on increasing. In fact, the ex- 
tension of cultivation and the settlement of the increasing 
population on waste areas within the zamindari went on 
through the legal and contractual medium of the creation of 
a jungle of intermediaries. At each stage, the layer of 
intermediaries immediately above the actual cultivators 
supplied the active and energetic managers — all interme- 
diaries above them were mostly absentees who merely 
drew their quota from the produce of the land — and these 
forceful newcomers to whom was due the increasing pro- 
duction, took out of the cultivators all they could extract 
from them, in order to have for themselves as large an in- 
come as possible, in excess of what they had contracted to 
pay to the layer of intermediaries immediately above. 
Secondly, in the old unquiet days of armed bands roaming 
unchecked and living on the fat of the land and destroying 
far more than they actually consumed, zamindar and kun- 
bis ( ^ur^T ) were tied together for the defence of all they 
held dear, life and children, cattle and property, homestead 
and honour : bonds of loyal attachment and camaraderie 
were forged, strong enough to link the generations toge- 


ther. The piping times of peace followed, these higher 
bonds rusted and crumbled, and the cash nexus remained 
the only bond between Zamindar and intermediary, inter- 
mediary and cultivator. Population increased, all avail- 
able areas being filled up the pressure of the teeming 
people on the land began, and rack-renting was the 
inevitable outcome. This cycle prevails always and 
everywhere : it has the uniformity of a law of nature : the 
first stage is the establishment of a strong stable govern- 
ment enforcing a fair system of agricultural economy; the 
second stage is increasing prosperity; the third stage is 
widespread irremediable poverty — men multiply and 
Lakshmi (^*fr the goddess of prosperity) departs. A 
predominantly agricultural land, which cannot annex 
fresh areas, which does not develop commerce industry 
and more scientific agriculture, and where the people go 
on multiplying, cannot escape this cycle. It is a simple 
enough proposition, stated in this abstract fashion; it 
sounds almost a truism ; and yet we have to turn it over 
and over and grasp it firmly from many stand-points, for 
it is one of the masterkeys to the economicjiistory of India. 

The only real remedies are ( 1 ) imperialism and 
colonisation, ( 2 ) commerce and industry, (3) increasing 
knowledge of and command over the forces of nature 
resulting in progressive improvements in the arts, includ- 
ing agriculture, and (4) moral and customary checks on 
the fecundity of the race. All else are not real radical 
remedies, but, if we take large views looking at several 
generations together at one glance, mere palliatives; 
though even as palliatives they have incalculable value ; — 
they check social discontent and disharmony ; they protect 
the weak against the strong; and the patient — the poor 
suffering society — gets a little more time during which to 
develop, if it can, one or more of the real radical remedies. 

One of the most indispensable of these palliatives is 
the protection of the agriculturist from the growing exac* 


tions of the higher layers of the community. These 
higher layers — these intermediaries, the legal system has 
placed in the position of monopolists of a commodity, the 
land, of which there is only a limited supply. Hence the 
state which created and supports the system is bound in 
equity to frame further legislation with the object of safe- 
guarding the right of the agriculturist to a living wage ; 
and the moral right of the state to do this and so to 
limit the. monopoly of the intermediaries, is clear as day- 
light, where the state has itself solemnly limited its own 
exactions from the topmost layer of zamindars by a 
permament settlement. The title to preach and enforce 
abstinence in the public interest inheres in those only 
who themselves set the example. 

These are the fundamentals of the question. The 
details of the original and amending Acts 1 are infinite and 
naturally produced immense varieties of opinion and volu- 
minous controversies. These are for the specialist. Here 
we can only note the main results in broad outline. The 
cultivators are grouped into classes, tenants at will* 
tenants at fixed rates of rent, and occupancy tenants. 
Any one who can prove that he has been tilling land in 
the village for twelve years without a break acquires the 
status of an occupancy tenant and cannot be evicted as 
long as he pays the rent. Obviously it is a class that goes 
on increasing and already over eighty per cent, of the cul- 
tivators are occupancy tenants. No enhancement of rent 
is allowed at shorter intervals than five years, and even 
then only by consent or by decree of court on good cause 
shown. Any tenant can apply and get all the incidents 
of his tenancy judicially determined. A complete record of 
rights is aimed at, and once prepared it is kept upto-date, 
the entries in it are taken as correct unless any of them is 
judicially proved to be erroneous, and the landlord is help- 
ed to recover arrears by summary procedure. 

1 Bengal T.ejiancjF. Act, X of 1859, 7111 of 1885, III of 1898, I of 
1907, ar« tb« principal. 


Cannot these civil courts imposing justice from above 
be replaced by arbitration samitis ( qffiiH ) composed of 
the elected elders of the community, the judge who at 
present constitutes the court merely taking the position of 
of the paid and responsible adviser, convener and recorder 
of the punchayat f If necessary he might be given the 
power to recommend that either party be allowed to ap- 
peal to a court composed of qualified servants of the State, 
one such court might be established for each division, and 
this appellate court might also have full powers of inspec- 
tion and revision of judgments even without a formal appeal. 
It is only by institutions of this character that a real 
democracy can be gradually built up out of our rural 

Baden-Powell pp. 33-52, 131, 133-45, 154-68. 
Ray Land Revenue Admnn. pp. 1-57. 
J, Sarkar pp. 119, 123-130, 221-237. 

§ 40 Temporary Settlements. The Bengal settlement 
took the land in big areas and fixed three features with 
regard to each : its outer boundaries, its zamindar, the 
amount of land revenue he was to pay for it. But even 
while this settlement was being worked out and declared 
permanent, a school of revenue officers had arisen, with 
Shore at their head, who were convinced that both the 
rights of the State and the duties it owed to the people 
required a more detailed mastery of the subject in its vari- 
ous complexities. The land they saw must be thoroughly 
surveyed and mapped out, and the various soils classified, 
field by field. In the second place, there must be a record 
of the shifting pyramid of rights from that of the landlord 
at the apex to those of the actual tillers of the soil at the 
bottom. And in the third place, these masses of ascertain* 
ed facts should be further viewed from time to time in the 
light of the history of the locality, the rise and fall of pri- 
ces, the variation* in the rainfall and the seasons, the 


increase in population communications and commerce, the 
slowly changing water-level, the increase or decrease in the 
number of wells and other means of irrigation, and other 
factors too numerous to detail. They wanted to leave the 
cultivator a fair remuneration for his labour, and they also 
admitted that both cultivator and landlord were entitled to 
a fair rate of profit for the improvements they made, but 
the State, they held, was justly entitled to a share of the 
surplus wealth produced, whatever it was. As the century 
advanced they began to plan large schemes of bridges and 
roads, irrigation works, and, later, railways ; and it was 
plain that these projects would require large resources, but 
that they would benefit the people to such an extent, that 
the State was perfectly justified in asking the people to 
hand over to it a part of these extra gains as Jthey mate- 
rialised, since they were the result of the improvements 
the State itself was bringing into existence at such an en- 
ormous outlay. On the other hand, to revise the land re- 
venue demand every year or even every few years wa* 
out of the question ; the gain would be small, the trouble 
and the cost would be enormous, and the feeling of inse- 
curity created and the discontent would outweigh the 
increase in the revenue, whatever it was. Thus arose the 
conviction that a permanent settlement was a temptation 
to be resisted at all costs ; that short term settlements 
were also to be avoided as impolitic except in areas which 
were highly unsettled and contained much untilled waste ; 
that settlements unalterable for about a generation, but 
subject to a thorough revision then, were the ideal com- 
promise. This, at any rate, is the notion underlying the 
land revenue systems of the remaining four-fifths of British 
India. They exhibit local peculiarities some of the most 
important of which we shall go into presently, but their 
temporary character is the feature common to them all, and 
we have tried to sketch the point of view from which it 
appeared to its authors to be the only reasonable course 
to adopt. 


Bat the problem which they thus tried to grapple with 
was far more complex than the one they had attempted in 
Bengal. To estimate the value of the net agricultural 
income of an area that is a geographical and economic 
unit is not an easy task ; to strike an average for several 
years is only a mathematical inference the value or subs- 
tantial accuracy of which was bound to be far less than 
that of the original premises, viz. the estimates year by 
year ; to distribute it amongst the various grades of soil 
would be another mathematical inference still less accurate; 
and finally to apportion it estate by estate, village by vil- 
lage, and field by field, was to prolong the chain of abstract 
deductive reasoning several steps further. No wonder 
the first efforts were utter failures almost everywhere. No 
wonder, the effort to establish a fair settlement on general 
principles had to be given up everywhere. No wonder, that 
settlement officers and government had to fall back every- 
where on crude empirical methods easy to apply and intel- 
ligible to the people. The claim that it was a really fair 
and equitable settlement can be granted only in a limited 
sense. The Government had strength enough to enforce 
it, the people were mild and pliant enough to accept it as 
part of their fate. Each villager knew how much he would 
have to pay year by year for a certain period by instal- 
ments falling due on fixed dates; and there was far less 
corruption and oppression of the people by the underlings 
than ever before. These items should be entered on the 
credit side of the system. On the debit side has to be 
entered the underlying assumption that a healthy social 
structure only needed cultivators, improving landlords and 
moneylenders, traders and labourers, and such other 
secondary classes, shepherds, shoemakers, shopkeepers, 
&c, as could live upon these primary classes by serving 
them. It was a truncated conception of society altogether ; 
and it is all the more remarkable that this should not have 
been perceived, since there is no doubt whatever that our 
rulers wanted not only a peaceful and industrious commu- 


nity but one that was also prosperous and progressive. 
The demand for permanent settlements which rose up 
once more as the century advanced, which was pressed by 
some of the ablest and most experienced officers of the 
government, and led to a controversy that continued down 
to the eighties, had really behind it the feeling that a so- 
ciety mainly agricultural could not possibly be healthy 
prosperous and progressive, unless there was left room in it 
for an agricultural middle class, whose resources intelli- 
gence and leadership could alone create and sustain pro- 
gressive agriculture. But by that time the Government 
had realised that they too were in the grip of an inexor- 
able fate ; that India was a very poor country, that it was 
subject to colossal recurring calamities, that the number of 
taxes they could impose were very very few, nor were they 
really free to increase any of them beyond a certain low 
limit: and under these circumstances they were naturally 
unwilling to forego whatever extra income the land reve- 
nue brought to the treasury by its own "natural and 
normal expansion." 

§ 41 Village Settlements. These temporary settle- 
ments fall into two broadly distinguishable classes: village 
or village community settlements and ryotwari settlements. 
The first prevail all over Hindustan, the Punjab and the C. 
P.; the second are the distinguishing feature of the Madras 
and Bombay system. 

Village community settlements were first developed 
in the Agra province. In that cock-pit of India, commu- 
nal feeling is still strong and so are hereditary and local 
loyalties, although a century and more of British rule has 
gone far to weaken them. The village lands were, the 
English found, looked upon as a whole and owned and 
managed by the villagers or some one section of them as a 
community. This community was the joint landlord, even 
when there were, as in some parts, hereditary over-lords 
who without being so powerful as jurisdictional Chiefs, had 


^till the right to obtain substantial shares of the produce. 
When this share of the over-lord was larger, he was styled 
landlord; when smaller, taluqdar. So the lands in the Agra 
province were to be settled with landlord and village 
community or taluqdar and village community, or with 
the village community by itself. And as already hinted 
in many villages more than one community were staying 
together, one of these as the proprietor community, the 
other or others as tenant communities under the first. 
The landlord and taluqdar families had also families of 
dependents settled as tenants on their family estates. 
Benares district had the same social structure; but 
Jonathan Duncan, although he was supposed to know 
Indian ideas and customs so well his English comrades 
dubbed him a Brahman, — could make nothing of it, a 
community as a joint landlord was an idea altogether too 
recondite for our foreign rulers of those days ; and the 
Bengal zamindari system was imposed ^upon the district 
and this the people had to submit to. However, though 
Duncan was puzzled, he noted some of the main facts, 
the Anglo-Saxon intellect is honest and persistent, even 
if slow, and by 1833 a start on right lines was made. 
We shall not trace the history of the system as it grew up 
but proceed at once to a very brief account of what it 
became when fully developed. The peculiarity of the U.P. 
land system is the large number of tenants who are not mere 
tenants at will but have customary hereditary rights partly 
personal, but mainly according to the community to which 
a tenant belongs and the custom of the locality. In making 
a land revenue settlement the first thing is to make out 
a rent roll showing against the name of each tenant the 
land he holds and the rent he pays for it partly to such an 
individual where there was one, and partly to a village 
community. But, as can be inferred from what has been 
so far stated, few of the rents were fair rents at the time 
of the original settlement. The tenantry were either 
treated as friends and almost as equals by the landlords, 


in which case the actual rents were light, or they were 
treated as an undesirable legacy of the past, in which case 
the rents were heavy. This depended only partly upon 
the qualities and status of the tenantry themselves ; the 
relative strength and position in the locality of the 
proprietor community had also something to do with it. 
Hence, it was not enough to make the rent roll. Some 
method of estimating the net produce was also necessary. 
That ascertained, part of it could be left with the culti- 
vator himself, and the balance could be distributed 
between the two or three superior sharers, the state and 
the village community, and, where he existed, the land- 
lord or taluqdar also, on a uniform system. Can the net 
produce, however, be estimated at all ? Can this be done 
for an area so large as a taluka ? And can we moreover 
strike an average that would answer for such a period as 
thirty or twenty years at a stretch, and convert it into a 
cash amount 1 As we have seen in a former section the 
whole process is too deductive. The vagaries of nature, 
the personal qualities of the cultivator, both as an indivi- 
dual and as a member of a particular caste inheriting 
certain traits, and also accidents pure and simple, play 
too large a part in influencing the result, field by field 
and village by village, to enable us to obtain anything 
beyond a very rough guess. And it is this conclusion, 
arrived at by a process defective at many points, which 
must be imposed upon cultivator and landlord by the 
superior will of the State or the community as a whole. 
We may still call the land revenue settlement of one 
area fair and of another not so fair. There may be a 
certain rough and relative justification for such judg- 
ments. But that is all. Nor can we ever attain a fair 
land revenue system for the whole of India. Again, his- 
torically, the parts in which agricultural wealth grows 
might contribute higher percentages and yet come really 
to be taxed lighter ; the parts which remain stationary, 
might continue to contribute the same percentage of the 


produce and yet might feel it a heavier burden than 
before ; the parts which are deteriorating, might be taxed 
at a lower percentage, and yet find it impossible to pay 
even that. Such being the complexities of the case, no 
real friend of the State can ever claim for it that it has 
never erred, — and error herein spells oppression, for it is 
the view of the State about a locality's capacity to bear 
a certain enhancement which, right or wrong, is necessa- 
rily imposed upon the people, — or that it has invariably 
behaved sympathetically in the matter. Every student of 
the subject and every citizen must grasp these essential 
complexities, for, of course, no one can foresee the time 
when a State in India— manned whether by foreigners or 
by the children of the soil— will be able to do without 
taxing agricultural incomes. 

To arrive at the gross produce, we have to rely mainly 
upon classification of soils. Five specific classes have 
been determined : ( 1 ) alluvial or permanently improved, 
( 2 ) black cotton soil, ( 3 ) red ferruginous, ( 4 ) calcareous, 
and ( 5 ) arenaceous, or nearly all sand. Sorts are recog- 
nised in each species and as a rule every field is assigned 
to one or other class in a series of fourteen from class I to 
class XIV. The relative productivities of the classes in 
any taluka are ascertained by actual experiments and by 
taking the general experience of the cultivators. It would 
be sufficient to take, as an illustration, only three varieties 
of soil. Take four villages of equal size, say, 1000 acres ; 
let village A have the three varieties of soil in equal propor- 
tions ; let village B, C, and D have half its soil of the first, 
the second, and the third variety respectively, and let the 
other two varieties of soil make up the rest of each village 
in equal proportions. Assume finally that the productive 
capacities of the three varieties of soil are in the locality 
in the ratio of 36 : 24 ; 12, We thus arrive at figures which 



we might call the total units of productivity of each village., 
as in the following table : — 



Class I— 



Class II— 

Class Ill- 








12 + 8 + 4=24 










9 + 12+3=24 





9 + 6+6=21 

If we can further assume that for any period each 
unit of productivity would mean Rs. 500, our figures 
show that the gross income of village A or C from its fields 
is Rs. 12000; village B, Rs. 13,500; and village D, Rs. 
10,500. This calculation would have to be modified in 
various ways before the final figures can be arrived at ; 
we can here mention only two of the grounds — ( 1 ) the 
particular crop usually sown on a particular kind of soil 
in a locality, and ( 2 ) the facilities for a water supply 
independent of rainfall, such as a well, or a tank or 
a canal, 

Net produce is the gross produce reduced by the 
proper expenses the cultivator must incur in order to 

obtain it. This, again, is a 

easy to 


make in the abstract but far from easy to apply in 
practice. And a fair rent, a fair over-lord share, and a 
fair State tax or land revenue have all to come out of the 
net produce, and whatever remains, remains with the 
cultivator, for him to spend on his social and religious 
needs, according to his station in life, or to invest or 
hoard in order that he might have some staying power 
against the rain-less day, or so to utilise as to increase 
his real efficiency as a productive member of society. 


How he behaves with regard to this surplus when he has 
any, and when he anticipates any in the near furture, is 
also a very important factor. For, in the long run, it will 
react upon the net produce and all its sharers. That 
education which can really teach him to behave properly 
towards it, to work for it with a will, to make prudent 
anticipations about it, and to utilise it properly when he 
gets it, is the type of education that he needs most, and 
that it is one of the most urgent needs of Indian society 
to provide for him, if possible. When he has this 
surplus, however small. Must every cultivator always 
have a surplus? Must no land revenue be taken in 
cases in which there is no surplus ? Is there any reason 
why the land revenue should be foregone unless the rent, 
too, is foregone ? When the rent and the land revenue 
were shares of the grain heap, the reduction of both upto 
zero happened automatically. But in our modern and 
more complex society with a money economy pervading 
all relations of life, we must all, even the cultivators, look 
before and after, and the fat surplus of the bounteous 
year must be held over for the lean year. In the case of 
the poorest lands in the hands of the worst cultivators, 
there might not be any surplus except in the very best 
years ; a better state of things could emerge here only as 
the lands and the cultivators are improved ; which implies 
a sinking of capital in them, in indefinite amounts and 
for indefinite periods, and with only a sporting chance of 
any success ; — capital brought over, of course, from some 
outside source. This might not be always possible. 
Nor, in the meanwhile, could the land be allowed to fall 
out of cultivation, or the cultivators, such as they are, 
relieved of this occupation, in which they are doing some- 
thing, at least, towards leading a useful life. Such fringes 
to the economic web there always are even in the richest 
countries, and if there are parts of India, which, so to 
speak, are all fringe, and very tattered at that, is it the 
fault of the government? Is it not rather a part of our 


lute ? And a part, too, that will demand not a little 
pluck to face. 

In the U. P., however, the net produce figures were 
of primary importance only for the first settlements. They 
enabled the rent roll actuals to be checked, fair rents to 
be estimated, and the shares of landlord, taluqdar, and 
State to be worked out on the basis of the last. But ten- 
ants and owners were in the meanwhile allowed to alter 
rents ; if they could not agree amongst themselves, rent 
courts independent of the settlement and revenue depart- 
ments were set up to which they could go, and there, 
influence and money and pertinacity had their innings. 
But the courts improved, the rents mounted up or down 
approaching real competitive levels, and even from the 
first revision settlements, the rent rolls became the real 
basis of the land revenue settlement and the net produce 
calculations became only a subordinate check. Finally, 
the rule first adopted at the Saharanpur settlement in 1855, 
that the land revenue should not exceed fifty per cent of 
the rent, worked in the direction of lowering land revenue 
percentages, as the rents the settlement officers considered 
came more and more to be the actual rents, and not some 
other figure largely inferential, which they denominated 
'fair' rents. 

The Punjab settlement differed from that of the U. P. 
because there were hardly any landlords or taluqdars and 
comparatively few tenants in that province. But there 
are in that province many cultivators, who, though techni- 
cally proprietors, till lands of which they have only a part 
share, and in those cases produce shares or money equiva- 
lents are paid to each proprietor to the extent of his share, 
the cultivating proprietor obtaining more than his share be- 
cause of his labour and capital. Thus here, too, there are 
rents as a matter of fact although not known by that name. 
In the fully developed parts the term of the settle- 
ment is thirty vears, as in the U. P., but it is twenty 



elsewhere. Aud in what are known as precarious tracts, 
forming about one eighth of the total cultivated area, 
where the rain cannot be depended upon, there is little 
water from other sources, and the soil is inferior, land 
revenue at a low rate is charged only on the area actually 
cropped in any year. Land alienation is also regulated 
by stringent laws (Punjab Act XIII of 1900, amended in 
1907). A non-agriculturist who might have become 
owner of cultivable land can sell it freely ; so can an 
agriculturist to another in the same village ; but other 
alienations require the permission of the Deputy Commis- 
sioner — just as in a Native State the permission of the 
Chief is generally required. And since mortgages with 
possession might lead to transfer of ownership, they are 
also carefully scrutinised and restricted. Twenty years' 
possession by the mortgagee is, moreover, taken to termi- 
nate all claim, however high the amount borrowed. 

The C. P. settlements are also for a period of twenty 
years, the over-lords there are known as tnalguzars, and 
the settlement fixes not only the land revenue but all the 
rents as well ( C. P. Act XI of 1898 ). Tenants are pro- 
tected in all these provinces by acts inspired by the same 
spirit as the tenancy acts for Bengal which have been 
already mentioned, but the details are different from pro- 
vince to province. In the C. P., for instance, there is a 
specially privileged class of 'absolute occupancy tenant,' 
whose rents cannot be raised at all except by the settle- 
ment officer at a revision settlement, and who cannot be 
ejected '( practically ) for any cause whatever/ 

Baden-Powell pp. 171-198. 
Ray pp. 110-135. 

Indian Land Revenue Policy, being the Government of India Reso- 
lution of 16-1-1902. 

§ 42 Ryotwari Settlements. The Madras and Bom- 
bay system is called ryotwari as opposed to the zamindari, 
or single landlord, and mahalwari, or joint landlord, sys- 


terns described above. But the ryot or the .-cultivator in 
the system, though recognised as a hereditary occupant 
with a full title subject only to the payment of the govern- 
ment demand, is really treated under it as ( in the logician's 
phrase ) an 'inseparable accident' of the field or 
'survey number' or the fraction of it that he 
tills. The land revenue demand attaches to the 
survey number, and whoever occupies it or any part of it 
does so on condition of regularly paying its dues to the 
government. After various false starts, a proper beginn- 
ing of this system was made in Madras from 1817-20 and 
in Bombay from 1835. In Madras the calculation of the 
net produce is claimed to be the basis on which the settle- 
ment rests. The Bombay government have been perfectly 
frank about it from the first ; they have admitted that 
though net produce calculations are made and are used as 
a guide, still many other calculations also enter into the 
result, and the controlling factors are — first, an estimate 
of the total demand a taluka could bear, based upon gene- 
ral considerations, and second, a distribution of it as 
equitable as possible amongst the villages of the taluka, 
and amongst the fields of each village, in the determina- 
tion of which the classification of soils, the usual crop in 
particular localities on particular soils, and the water 
facilities are the ruling considerations. Under the Bom- 
bay system the classification of soils is rather elaborate. 
Irrigated land, rice land, garden land, and dry land with 
two crops or with one are the main distinctions. And the 
dry land is further distinguished into black, red, or light soil, 
of these three seven, seven, and five sorts respectively are 
noted, based principally upon the depth of the soil, each 'one 
anna lower for valuation purposes than the one above it' ; 
and, further, seven accidental defects are recognised, the 
presence of which in any field would lower its place in the 
scale by one point or even by two. Lastly, the whole- 
system being empirical, limits to enhancements have from 
the second revisions come to befixed by a simple rule, that 


at a revision the demand from the taluka as a whole should 
not be raised by more than a third of the expiring settlement , 
hat from a village by more than two thirds/ and that from a 
tsingle holding was not to be more than doubled, except un- 
der very exceptional circumstance s . Nor were the increases 
to be realised in full from the first year of the new settle- 
ment. Only four annas in the rupee ( i. e. one quarter of 
the increase ) was demanded for the first two or three year s 
and the balance was similarly added on in three further 
instalments ( of four annas each ) at similar intervals. 
The Madras system differs in this; there, one fourth of the 
increase is added on the first year, and under certain cir- 
cumstances, one eleventh of the balance is added on 
regularly from the second year to the twelfth, while the 
general rule is to add one-eighth every year from the 
second to the seventh. In both provinces there is of 
course a thorough survey, and detailed maps and re- 
gisters for every village based upon it. The record 
of rights was at first not so full in either province 
as in North India, the government taking the shortsighted 
view that for each holding they only needed the name of 
the individual responsible to it for its revenue But full 
records noting every interest in the land have begun to be 
compiled in recent years. Few agricultural communities 
can escape indebtedness, which grows at first imperceptibly, 
but accumulates decade by decade until it attains alarming 
proportions, and brings serious evils in its train. The 
legal system established in British India allowed the culti- 
vator the fullest power to borrow against his property in 
his holding, and he went on borrowing, until the money- 
lender refused to lend any more and filed a civil suit for 
recovery of the loans with interest. The courts in many 
cases allowed the claims, with the result that the cultiva- 
tor's holding was sold out, and land began to pass from the 
hands of its hereditary owners into those of money- 
lenders. This was a serious evil, for where the money- 
lending classes arc not agriculturists and the dispo- 


ssessed agriculturists have no other means of livelihood, 
these latter have to stick on to their holdings and would 
consent to any fancy rents and other irregular exactions 
besides in order to do so, thus becoming reduced to mere 
tenants at will at less than starvation wages. "The num- 
ber of suits for debt in the courts of the Poona district 
doubled between 1867 and 1873, and the applications for 
execution of decrees increased from twelve thousand in 
1868 to twenty-eight thousand in 1873."' Matters 
came to a head in 1875; the agriculturists in four 
Deccan districts attacked the moneylenders, burnt 
all their account books and bonds, and were guilty 
of some other acts of violence. The Deccan Agriculturists' 
Relief Act, 1879, was passed as a remedy. Under the Act 
the civil court in hearing a suit between agriculturist and 
moneylender, takes the side of the agriculturist, disallows 
usurious interest, insists upon the fullest accounts inter- 
preting every omission in favour of the agriculturist, and 
scrutinises every detail in order to go behind the contra- 
ct to the equities of the case. Village registrars are pro- 
vided in order that contracts might be made in their 
presence, and conciliators are appointed to effect equitable 
settlements of disputes out of court. Finally, when the 
court allows a claim, it fixes at the same time instalments 
convenient to the debtor to enable him to gradually free 
himself from his burden, without losing his land . The Act 
has been found fairly successful as a palliative and has 
been extended to other parts of the province. A rapid 
extension of rural cooperative credit and of cooperative 
societies to enable the agriculturist to buy manure seed &c, 
to buy or hire cattle, costly machines &c, and to market 
his produce, so as to reduce his costs, improve the quality 
of what he buys or hires, and increase the gain from what 
he has to sell, would, on the other hand, be a real remedy 
as far as it went. A system of rural insurance and state 

1 Keatinf*, Rural Eoonoroy in B. D«ooan, p. 85-91. 


agricultural banks for permanent improvements and other 
large outlay, such as would be productive over a large area 
but only after years, would be other remedies that would 
also be not mere palliatives. The, problem, however is 
vast and complicated, and in order that these and similar 
proposed remedies might be widely scrutinised and a strong 
public opinion grow up capable of giving active support 
to well-judged practical schemes, perhaps the greatest 
need of the day is for large numbers of intelligent well- 
informed people to take a more living interest in its vari- 
ous aspects than they have hitherto done. 

Baden-Powell pp. 199-213. 
Ray pp. 58-109. 

§ 43 Uneconomic holdings. Men multiply, we have 
said, and Lakshmi 1 departs. As the generations succeed 
one another, there are more cultivators, decade after 
decade, for the same number of acres, and the holdings 
are cut up more and more. The individual cultivator's 
holding as a unit becomes progressively smaller. And it 
comes to consist of an increasing number of strips scatter- 
ed all over the cultivable area of the village. The evils of 
this are great and undoubted and of a cumulative chara- 
cter. " Excessive subdivision and fragmentation impede 
current cultivation and waste time, prevent permanent 
improvements, prevent a man from living on his farm, 
prevent any orderly organisation of labour or capital, 
sometimes send land out of cultivation altogether, cause 
enmity amongst neighbours leading to litigation and 
permanent feuds, and produce a generally uneconomic 

1. Lakshmi, of course, has many names and forms. The buxom 
goddess of rural plenty, the Greek Demeter, the Roman Oeres, is the 
Hindu Anna-puma (sro^vfr): It is she who departs as village populations 
in create without increase of Tillage lands. 


situation."* Or, as the same author puts it more generally, 

" The faot that the cultivator often fiDds it difficult to pay his assess- 
ment, the fact that he readily runs into debt and seldom extricates 
himself from it, the helplessness of some and the apathy of others, these 
matters have attracted general attention and suggested remedies. They 
are,however, merely symptoms of a general disease, and that disease lies 
in the distribution of the land itself. The fact is that most of the hold- 
ings are not economic holdings. When a cultivator has got only five or 
ten aores of unimproved dry-orop land split up into several plots, and 
situated at a distance from the village and from each ether, he has not 
got an economic holding. It will not provide a living for himself and 
his family. Much less will it leave him anything over to pay any 
assessment or any interest or debt, at whatever rate they may be 
calculated. There is no chance for him to develop or improve his 
property ...There is no object in preventing him from alienating his land, 
little use in trying to put his credit straight, and little advantage to be 
expected from making him advances or granting him remissions of 
revenue ...What is an economic holding?. ..The desirable area would vary 
greatly in different parts according to circumstances. A gardener in the 
Surat district with three acres of good garden land oan support a 
family in comfort, while in a dry part of the Deccan with poor soil 
thirty acres might not suffioe. Between the ideal economic holding and 
the obviously uneconomic holding there are many gradations; but it 
would not be difficult to fix a standard for any tract." 

The first thing, then, for those parts of India where 
the holdings have become uneconomic is to get back to 
economic holdings. That, however, is easier said than 
done. Legislation alone, or executive action alone, or 
influence and power exerted merely from above cannot 
achieve this end. The Hindu and Muhammadan laws of 
succession and the habits of the people have brought us 
to this pass, and Government and people have to act 
together, first to reconstitute the land into economic hold- 
ings, existing interests in the land being all fully taken 

2 Slightly condensed from Mr. G. Keatinge's No. 10457 (11-11-1916) 
to Government. See also the same author's Rural Economy pp 51-55, 
and Paper submitted to the Board of Agriculture, annual meeting, 1917 
(Ind. Jl. of Economics July); the Baroda State Report on the subject, 
1917; Prof. Stanley Jevons's paper onthe Consolidation of Holdings in 
the U. P., 1917; Dr. H. H. Mann, Land and Labour, pp. 43-54 and 150- 
156; <Src. 


into account, and then to protect the integrity of these 
new holdings by such laws and customs as might prevent 
a later recurrence of the present evils through a fresh 
series of slowly accumulating subdivisions and fragment- 
ations. There will also have to be pursued simultane, 
ously large practical schemes for the provision of non- 
agricultural occupations for those who have to be thus 
bought out of their present interest in the land. And- 
obviously, such joint action of people and government for 
such large and complex concrete 'ends would provide as 
effective a training as could be desired in the arts and 
difficulties of democratic self-government. 



§ 43 Frequency, Duration, Extent, Intensity. The 
statement is sometimes made that famines are now more 
frequent than in the past, they last longer, they affect 
larger areas, and, moreover, inflict greater suffering. It 
doubtless has its origin in natural opposition to the cuckoo 
song of steadily increasing wealth and prosperity which 
official publications sing in various keys in season and out 
of season, year after year. But it is none the less the 
product of minds unscientific and unhistorical, filled with 
vague unrest and discontent, and rising up in futile protest 
against things as they are in general and against the powers 
that be in particular. It does not stand to reason that the 
awful famines which destroyed states, crippled arts and 
crafts, and snapped the thread of culture and settled exis- 
tence, until fresh beginnings could be made somehow and 
somewhere, should have been less intense or shorter in 

frequency, duration, extent, intensity 217 

duration than the famines of today. It does not stand to 
reason that in a society cursed with chronic warfare bet- 
ween states, when the defenders had frequently to destroy 
standing crops themselves, and more frequently to miss 
the seasons for sowing, when the moving armies ate up all 
they could and destroyed far more than they consumed, 
and roving bands owning no allegiance to man or god 
spread devastation, the terror of their approach, besides, 
causing panic and famine conditions over areas far wider 
than those they actually overran, the famines should have 
been less acute or frequent or shorter in duration than now. 
It is quite impossible for minds with the slightest glimmer- 
ing of historical perception to stand such nonsense as any 
attempted comparison must be of present conditions with 
those when mothers ate children, when the dead choked 
up rivers, were cast into pits, and lay about everywhere 
for vultures and hyenas to feast upon, when husbands 
and fathers sold their women and children into slavery 
if they were so lucky as to find buyers, when valu- 
ables and heirlooms were bartered away at nominal 
prices, and grain rapidly rose upto twelve or fifteen times 
the normal, 1 until it became literally unobtainable, and 
whole villages went into the jungle by hundreds to live on 
jungle roots and bark and leaves, their progress marked 
by people dropping out at every step. It is equally im- 
possible even to place side by side the vague and meagre 
accounts which have survived and the full details of 
modern famines, — famine camps, gratuitous relief street by 
street, medical treatment and precautions and reports, the 
numbers of the people and their cattle migrating, the 
quantities of the grain and fodder supplied from place to 
place, — dates, and graphic pen-pictures, and carefully com- 
piled statistics, and snapshots revealing every bone. 
These accounts and photographs excite our pity and move 

1 A rise in price upto 32 times the normal was recorded in the 
Bombay district famiu© of 1709.— Loveday, p 27. 



the hardest of us to tears even when referring to the far- 
thest province of India, however different from us in 
blood and language and religion. We have become more 
sensitive to national suffering and helplessness, and more 
insistent in our demand that such things should cease to 
be. That is all to the good. But that is itself part of the 
advance already achieved under British rule, an advance 
that has relegated to the limbo of the past the awful 
calamities of the earlier centuries, never again, let us trust, 
to reappear in modern India. For modern famines differ 
toto caelo from their predecessors which spread such tre- 
mendous havoc. The last of the old type of famines was, 
let us say, the Bengal famine of 1770. Since then with 
every visitation of famine our efforts to reduce its inten- 
sity and bring the inevitable loss within measurable limits 
have become almost continuously more intelligent and 
better directed. Full success is still very far off, no 
doubt, and we are quite right in emphasizing the insuffici- 
ency, from our modern point of view, of what has been 
achieved, and contrasting it with the magnitude of and the 
complex difficulties surrounding what remained to be 
achieved, Our entire point of view in the matter has been 
transformed. We begin to see that too little rain, too much 
rain, floods, locusts, plant-disease, soil exhaustion, that these 
and other purely natural causes of famine might be weaken- 
ed in their operation, even if not eliminated altogether ; fur- 
ther, that, when operating, they might be prevented from 
inflicting the maximum loss they were capable of; further 
still, that the loss might be prevented from causing deaths 
of men and cattle by starvation or epidemic diseases ; and, 
most important of all, that the calamity when it occurred, 
thus restrained within purely physical bounds and reduced 
even as to the material losses it inflicted, individuals, even 
at the bottom of society, should have reserves and staying 
power enough to meet mainly by their own intelligent 
efforts, so that there might be as little dislocation of the 
economic and social system as possible. That is our new 


ideal ; when that is attained, India would have become for 
all practical purposes free even from famines of the modern 
type, although failures of rain &c. might continue to occur. 
That is our modern ideal, and from that point of view, 
there is a great deal still remaining to be done, some of it 
most difficult of accomplishment. To admit that, however, 
is one thing. To deny that any progress has been achiev- 
ed, to compare our modern famines with the very differ- 
ent calamities of the past, and even to say, imply, or 
insinuate that India was really better off in the past, is to 
lose all sense of proportion. 

Progress itself of course brings some new difficulties. 
There are some parts of India which are exceptionally 
favoured by nature. And India is so extensive, the phy- 
sical and climatic conditions are so diverse, a famine from 
end to end of the whole country is physically impossible, r 
Most of the famines of the past, even the worst, inflicted 
the horrors we read of mainly because of the absence of 
transport facilities. These the nineteenth century has 
supplied. In 1803-4, to give but one concrete instance, 
there was famine in the districts of Benares, Allahabad, 
Cawnpore and Fattehgarh, while at Bareilly, only seventy 
miles from the last place, wheat could be had at sixty seers 
per rupee, 3 yet it could not reach Fattehgarh! But the 
increase of transport facilities has meant the gradual con- 
version of all India into one market ; the poorer districts 
have been obtaining the surplus of the more favoured ; 
fairly uniform prices everywhere have meant rising 
prices in the more favoured parts. Secondly, as peace and 
security have continued, and transport facilities-railway s- 
have become available for a steadily increasing area, popu- 
lation has also been increasing. The area of cultivation 
has extended. But as international trade has also been 
transformed during the same period and necessaries of life 

2 Loveday p. 4 

3 Morisou, Industrial Organisation of an Indian Province p -2'SV 9 


have become the principal staples of that trade in huge 
quantities, the increase in the area of cultivation has not 
all been an increase in the area under food-grains. More- 
over, all the foodgrains produced in India have not re- 
mained in India. The prices of the food and other products 
have been raised more or less uniformly for the whole of 
India by the pull of this international demand to the world 
level. 4 From the latter half of the nineteenth century 
these interconnected influences have been at work, and i 
we survey the situation as a whole as it stood during the 
period 1911 to 1914, just before the outbreak of the Great 
War, we discover we are face to face with a new problem 
of enormous difficulty and complexity, the problem of 
feeding india. For the first time in history India ap- 
pears to have reached the limits of the population she can 
support. For the first time in history India appears to be 
producing less food than she really needs for her own 
consumption. The following figures 5 present the facts in a 
compact form and deserve careful study : — 

Population of British India— 

244-3 millions. 

Food-grains required for their 

Consumption per annum — 

48-5 million tons. 

Food-grains required for seed— ... 


••• a »» it 

Food-grains required for the 

consumption of cattle — 

... 12-86 „ 

Total requirements per annum— ... 

63-36 ,, ,, 

Area under food-grains in acres ... 

195 millions 

Total annual produce of food-grains 

minus wastage at 10 % 

56-72 million tons 

Annual export of food-grains 

4-93 M 

Total quantity available for 

home consumption 

... 51-79 „ 


11-57 „ 

4 English shipping-for India has no shipping of her own, has bene . 
fited in consequence, as much as India, by this expansion of Indian exports. 

5 The question is thoroughly discussed by Mr. D. S- Dubey in his 
Study of the Indian Food Problem ( Indian Journal of Economics, July 
1920 and January 1921 ). He studies seven years from 1911 to 1917 ; 
I omit the war years as abnormal. 


If we take the requirements at 60, and the quantity- 
available at 50 million tons, the annual deficit is one-fifth 
of the quantity available. Suppose, however, for the sake 
of argument that the standard of consumption taken to 
calculate the requirements (19*5 ounces per head per day 
for the whole population) might be high ; and that the 
figure for the annual production of food-grains might be 
low ; suppose, further, that wastage could be progressively 
reduced. The deficit would thus be lessened to some extent. 
But a deficit of several million tons per year, a deficit larger 
than the present annual export of food-grains, 6 even if not 
twice the amount of the export, must be accepted as the 
outstanding fact of the situation to-day. The conclusion 
is inevitable that our population has now increased upto 
the limit of the subsistence available, and that to main- 
tain our numbers, still more to increase them — the area 
under food-grains must increase, the production of food- 
grains per acre must improve, and that the prices of food- 
grains relatively to other produce and all other articles of 
value must rise higher than at present. India has been 
one of the cheapest countries to live in for over two gene- 
rations 7 ; that state of things cannot last much longer. We 
have outgrown the old state of chronic warfare, the 
spasmodic calamities and the no less spasmodic years of 
plenty ; the whole country has become internally one 
economic unit and has been brought into sensitive con- 
tact with the outside world ; the daily struggle for ex- 

6 As increasing scarcity declares itself and prices rise, the export 
of food-grains stops automatically: see, in the case of wheat, Keatinge, 
pp 153-7. 

7 This as it stands is a highly abstract proposition, one of those 
propositions easy and plain at sight but really difficult to grasp, which 
constitute the special difficulty of economics. In limiting the statement 
to about two generations I have in view (1) all India, (2) the costliness 
of all kinds and forms of insecurity, and (3) the sharp fluctuations which 
were the immediate effect of the first introduction of British rule 
in province after province. 


istence of the modern world is upon us at last. Our 
economic structure must rise to a higher level, sanitation 
and health, education and industry, efficiency and organis- 
ation, state policy, social habits must all be recast, in- 
stinctive and customary adaptations must give way to 
deliberate constructions, or else starvation and misery 
face us. 

§44 Relief Methods. The elemental calamities of the past, 
inflicting boundless suffering and loss for which no remedy 
or prevention was even conceivable, have been trans- 
formed into the famines of the latter half of the nineteenth 
century mainly by two factors. The progress of science 
and mechanical skill created the railway, and the railway 
has, so to speak, annihilated distance and made the im- 
mobility of grain and fodder, men and cattle, a thing of 
the past. Throughout the nineteenth century India as a 
whole still produced more food-stuffs than she needed. 
Hence wherever railway communications were introduced 
foodstuffs could be quickly brought up in abundance from 
provinces where there was plenty to those in need of it. 
But bringing up food to the afflicted districts is one thing, the 
organisation required to distribute it in the right manner is 

8 The following summary of census results will emphasize the argu- 
ment of the above section. "In 1891 Upper Burma, Kashmir and 
Sikkim were included in the oensus for the first time; in 1901, Balu- 
ehitsan Agency, the Rajputana Bhil country, the wild Nicobarese and 
Andamanese, and some outlying tracts aloDg both the N. W. and N. E # 
borders ; in 1911, the population of the areas included for the first time 
was under 1*75 millions. The official computation is that after allowing 
for these disturbing factors, the rate of the growth of population in the 
Indian Empire during the last thirty years has been as follows : — 

1881-91: 9-8%; 1891-01: 15%; 1901-11; 6*4%. 

The wide-spread famines of 1897 and 1900 with their sequelae- 
cholera, fever, and other epidemics affected the second period ; five 
millions in excess of the normal rate of mortality had died. During 
the third period the mortality from plague wa"s substantially greater 
than 6-5 millions. Plague and malaria were responsible for the 
decreases in the Punjab and the U. P." Condensed from India and 
the Durbar, oh. 18. 


a different thing altogether no less important. People who 
point out that almost every detail of our modern famine re- 
lief system was known and employed in India from the re- 
mote past, that hardly any important detail deserves to 
be regarded as a new invention, are perfectly correct 
in their contention, but only in an antiquarian sense. 
The distinguishing mark of the British administration has 
been the patience and the persistence with which the 
various remedies for relief were tried, their operation 
freed from defects and abuses, and the benefit of these so 
corrected and improved, spread over the entire area and 
continued for the entire period needing relief. More im- 
portant was the habit which collected and sifted the 
teachings of experience, and by continuous experiment 
and reflection fitted the various details into a really prac- 
tical harmonious system. And even more decisive, what 
may be called the final cause of it all, was the new sense 
of duty which never wavered, that the state was bound 
to exert itself to the utmost to relieve suffering, prevent 
loss of life, enable the normal currents of labour, trade 
and production, to flow on unhampered, and avoid any 
demoralisation of the people, as far as possible. The 
famine relief operations from 1770 to 1907 are full of 
failures and breakdowns ; the inevitable results of ignor- 
ance, miscalculation, inadequate or corrupt agency, and 
wobbling ideas at headquarters appear again and again ; 
a great deal can be and has often been made of these 
failures, and the losses resulting from them. These, how- 
ever, were incidents lying on the surface. The deeper 
truth of the matter is that these failures and breakdowns 
were not disguised nor were they put up with as inevit- 
able ; the Administration learnt from their failures, they 
tried again and again, until they succeeded in evolving 
the right methods. From 1770 to 1860 is the period of 
apprenticeship during which but little success was 
achieved. Even ;ifter 1860, there are seemingly para- 
doxical movements in two opposite directions at once, 


towards centralisation as well as decentralisation, towards 
spending all that was needed as well as towards econo- 
mising as much as possible, towards local variations as 
well as towards uniformity. But on the whole the march 
is upward and onward, directed by increasing knowledge 
and inspired by a steadfast sense of duty. 

The system as fully developed is a complex whole 
consisting of many correlated parts. The first essential is 
full up-to-date and reliable information. Rainfall statistics, 
the state of the crops, the store3 existing from previous 
harvests, the state and efficiency of the trade and trans- 
port agencies, especially with reference to their ability to 
reach the remotest districts and the most backward sec- 
tions of the people, such as hill-tribes, are all noted and 
estimated, and all subsequent relief operations are neces- 
sarily based upon this body of knowledge. Any serious 
mistakes in this preliminary, as in the Orissa famine of 
1866 1 , are bound to lead to disaster, however able active 
and devoted the individuals entrusted with the actual ad* 
ministration of relief. The next essential is a very care - 
ful study and correct interpretation from day to day of 
the preliminary symptoms. Sudden fluctuations in prices, 
attempts to corner supplies, the contraction of private 
charity and of the market for casual labour, the increase 
in petty crimes, the deepening anxiety of the people as 
summer breezes and summer skies continue, the epidemic 
of aimless loafing about in search of work and food settling 
down before long into a steady drift of increasing crowds 
towards towns, these are danger signals for the experi- 
enced administrator to note betimes. The Collector, the 
Commissioner of the division, and the provincial govern- 
ment should at an early date make up their minds, 
declare their policy, and take the lead of the people. 
Resolute many-sided activity at an early stage conceived 
on liberal even generous lines is more than half the battle. 

1 Tempi*, Men and Events p. 327, 


It puts heart into the people, encourages the philanthro- 
pic and well- to-do minority to organise their efforts and 
fall into line with the general plan of campaign of the 
state, and gives confidence and hope to all classes. The 
need for thus seizing the psychological moment and striking 
the popular imagination was, however, not fully realised 
before the famines of 1897 and 1900. The third essentia 
is the actual plan of the relief operations proper. Various 
alternative schemes for this purpose, many of quite ordi- 
nary dimensions to be put into operation at the villages^ 
or in the centre of every bunch of neighbouring villages 
some large enough for the talukas and even for the dis 
trict as a whole, must be ready in proper pigeon-holes, with 
estimates of the tools and the amount of organisation and 
supervision each would require. The tools &c. must b^ 
already there in some store and as the preliminary symp" 
toms become pronounced, more and more of the neces- 
sary staff must be warned to hold themselves ready, so 
that the relief camp might spring into existence as soon as 
wanted almost at a moment's notice. As the costliness of 
relief operations is ultimately measured by what we can 
place on the credit side as a set-off, the work which these 
hundreds of men at each relief camp are set to perform 
must be of real utility, such as were the fortresses, 
palaces, tanks, and irrigation canals constructed by the old 
rajas under similar circumstances. The British govern- 
ment has needed no fortresses or palaces ; its plans have 
been earthworks for a projected line of railway, or a road, 
or a tank or a canal. But the railway or the road must 
be really wanted, and must be kept up and carried for- 
ward to completion after the famine is over, that is, it 
must be not only such as might be useful if built, but 
such as was needed as soon as possible ; the tank must 
be such as would really hold water ; the canal must be 
such as would really carry a sufficient quantity of water 
for several months in the year. In other words, the drier 
areas of the whole land had to be surveyed in advance, 


district by district, with the special object of formulating 
such plans and selecting the best, and detailed estimating 
with reference to every one of the plans selected had to 
be also done in advance and kept available for use as soon 
as the moment for taking action arrived. This lesson was 
thoroughly grasped by 1878, the famine commission of 1880 
emphasized it, the various provincial governments luckily 
got a sufficiently long period to carry out the instructions ; 
and the consequence was that a fair number of the works 
executed by relief gangs in the famine of 1896-7, were of 
real, some even of great, utility. But we had another 
famine even more extensive in 1899-1900, there were few 
such plans available then, and one consequence was that 
there was comparatively very little indeed of real utility 
to show in return for the enormous sums necessarily spent 
upon relief in the course of the later famine. The size of 
the central relief camps was to a certain extent prescribed 
by the intensity of the famine in the areas surrounding 
them ; but opinion fluctuated considerably as to the point 
of maximum efficiency and economy combined with the 
minimum of risk. But latterly, and especially as volun- 
teer agency was found to be trustworthy and came to be 
trusted more and more, the effort to force every one seek- 
ing relief to become a digger or a breaker of metal has been 
discarded as far as possible, and special classes like 
weavers have been given work in their own line and in 
their own homes, and markets have been organised for 
the sale of their output. Moreover, substantial men have 
been given advances and this has enabled an increasing 
number of labourers of various classes and grades to find 
work with these employers. The famines of 1897 and 1907 
were specially remarkable for the large amount of de- 
centralised relief thus given. The supervision of the 
central camps has from an early date (1854) been handed 
over more and more to the expert agency of the public 
works department. The wages to be given to the labour- 
ers in the central camps have been fixed differently at 


different times. Attempts to differentiate between the 
workers broke down at an early stage of the period under 
review, as a minimum wage sufficient to keep the men 
alive had to be given in any case. The system that has 
prevailed on the whole has been a cross between pay- 
ment by piece-work or by results, and uniform payment 
to all but a variation of the tasks set, according to the 
health and capacity of the different classes amongst the 
workmen brought together by a common need at a central 
camp. Relief camps were first opened in the Madras 
famine of 1792, but they did not become the principal 
item of the relief organisation until much later. 

The fourth essential i( the independent and gratui- 
tous relief of the children and the infirm. Kitchens and 
hospitals where expert medical agency controls the de- 
tailed work, but all four gates are open to visitors, and 
the general supervision is handed over to respected 
volunteers, combine efficiency as well as inspire the fullest 
trust ; but decades elapsed before such a system could be 
built up. The superstitions and suspicions of the people* 
the corruption and heartlessness of the low-paid staff, the 
difficulty of providing such supervision as would make 
adulteration, neglect, false entries, favouritism, impossible, 
the domineering ways and red-tape habits of the official 
class, have made progress in this branch very slow, nor 
has it been uniform all over India. The fifth essential is 
to break up the relief camps as soon as the next rainy 
season establishes itself and to help the returning people 
with takavi loans for the purchase of seed and cattle. 
Such loans were an established institution of Hindu India 
which was also copied by more than one of her Muham- 
madan rulers. They have become an integral part of the 
British famine relief system from 1868. And from 1884 
onwards they have also been given to substantial cultiva- 
tors from an early stage of the period of distress for sink* 
ing or improving wells or for other agricultural improve* 


ments of a temporary or permanent character. The first 
takavi loans were granted in the famine of 1868-70 when 
they amounted to Rs. 21 lakhs. The greater liberality of 
the policy pursued after 1901 is shown by takavi loans of 
over Rs. one hundred and eighty-five lakhs in the famine 
of 191 3, and of over Rs. two hundred and twenty-five 
lakhs in that of 1907. 2 The sixth essential is the sus- 
pension of land revenue and its ultimate remission in whole 
or in part ; in ryotwari India the State foregoes this ; in 
the zamindari parts, the zamindar makes the remission and 
gets credit for it from the state. It is plain that when the 
cultivator loses his crop and has so little reserve re- 
maining from past profits as to be brought to the 
verge of death by starvation, it is not at all possi- 
ble for him to pay the land revenue. The contract the 
state makes with him, however, is a long term contract, 
and according^*) the letter of it, the state is clearly entit- 
led to its revenue from him even in the years of famine. 
However, during 1 900 suspensions of revenue were grant- 
ed amounting to two hundred and six lakhs, and out of 
this sum one hundred and ninety-eight lakhs were remitted 
altogether. 3 The Famine Commission of 1901 recommend- 
ed early announcements of remissions and since March 
1 905 the principle has been accepted by most provincial 
administrations. The land revenue demand is suspended 
altogether when there is no prospect even of a four anna 
crop, and the suspended revenue is not demanded until 
after the affected tract has had one fair harvest. The sus- 
pensions of land revenue granted during the famine of 
1913 amounted to over a hundred and eight lakhs. 

2 Loans to agriculturists for improvements and takavi proper are 
both regulated by the Land Improvement Loans Act (19 of 1883) and 
Agriculturists' Loans Act (12 of 1884), and by the rules framed under 
them in each province. The working has varied with the personal 
interest taken in the matter by Distriot Officers.-See Irrigation Commis- 
sion Report. 

3 The largest remission of which there is any previous record it 
that of Rs. seventy lakhs by Shah Jehan in the famine of 1630 ( Elliot 
and Dowson VII p. 25. 


Two more features of the system remain to be noted 
Respectable people and pardanishin women would rather 
starve in their homes than go to relief works. Amongst 
these also many are not averse in a time of such stress to 
paid work, and their relief falls under the provisions indi- 
cated above for the benefit of special classes such as wea- 
vers. But there would be large numbers of these genteel 
classes who would or could do no work for which any 
remuneration could be earned ; unless helped, they would 
quietly starve to death or commit suicide in some manner 
sanctioned by their religion. Volunteers of their own or 
a higher status are the only channel through which gra- 
tuitous relief could reach them. And even with the 
best efforts, a number of such cases, perhaps the moat 
deserving of all, no system of public charity could ever 
hope to reach, in an ancient country like ours, where we 
still have an extensive heritage of aristocratic pride. The 
cost of all gratuitous relief—to children and invalids as 
well as to these classes — and of extra comforts to those 
who earn a famine wage of some sort, is borne by chari- 
table funds. During the widespread famines at the end 
of the nineteenth century these funds were fed by contribu- 
tions from all over the world ; the 1897 fund amounted to a 
crore and seventy-five lakhs, of which a crore and a quarter 
was contributed by England ; the 1 900 fund amounted to a 
crore and a half, of which England gave nearly a crore. 1 900 
also saw the foundation of the Indian People's Famine 
Trust, by an initial donation from the then Maharaja of 
Jeypur of Rs. sixteen lakhs in government securities ; the 
Trust had by the end of 1920 grown to Rs. thirty lakhs, 
chiefly by further contributions from members of the foun- 
der's family. 4 Lastly, all the other expenditure on famine 
relief in every form — establishments, transport, cost of 
necessaries, the wages and the doles — is met by the State. 
This is heavy ; and it was, moreover, soon realised that a 
famine in one part of British India or another was a rather 

4 Indian Year Book, 1821. 


frequent phenomenon. During the decade from 1867 to 
1877 famine relief had absorbed Rs. fifteen crores. From 
1 878, therefore, it was decided to raise an additional revenue 
of a crore and a half per year by extra taxation, and the object 
was to earmark this sum as a famine insurance fund. 
Whenever there was a famine, relief expenditure was to be 
met out of it ; in good years, railways or irrigation works of a 
protective character were to be built out of it ; or when no 
guch project was ready to spend it on, debt to that amount 
was to be paid off or at least less debt was to be incurred 
to that amount. The central idea of tha scheme was that 
in a country exposed to recurring calamities of this chara- 
cter, the state was justified in imposing a little extra taxa- 
ion on the people, who by the payment of a small annual 
premium, as it were, could have the full benefit of its 
capitalised value whenever the calamity was upon them. 
The term, used to describe the extra fund was clearly a 
misnomer ; here, there was no one like an insurance com- 
pany to hand over the capitalised value. The policy should 
be regarded rather as an attempt to spread the heavy bur- 
dens of a famine over several years, and at the same time 
to hurry on the construction of railways so as to link up 
the poorer and drier parts of India with the more favoured, 
as quickly as possible. 5 Hence, in the construction of pro- 
tective works out of revenue precedence was given to 
railways for over twenty years. But all the main lines of 
protective railways were thus constructed, and the famine 
commissions of 1898 and 1901 recommended that in future 
protective irrigation works were to be similarly construct- 
ed out of revenue as far as possible. The Irrigation 
Commission of 1901-03 followed. It explored the possibi- 
lities of new irrigation works all over India, productive as 
well as protective, and drew up schemes of protective irri- 
gation works for the areas most frequently liable to famine, 

5 For a criticism of the Famine Insurance Fund, see Putt 
Victorian Age pp 592-4; Famines in' : India pp 78-81, 


fcuch aB the Bombay Deccan, Bundelkhand, and parts 61 
Bihar and the Central Provinces. As a consequence fairly 
steady progress has been made and the average annual 
addition to the cultivable area protected by fresh irrigation 
works of a ' major ' type constructed by the state out of 
current revenues might be roughly put down at fifty thou- 
sand acres. The rate of progress has been slower during 
the abnormal years from 1914. 

A. Loveday, History and Economics of Indian Famines. 

Sir T. Morison, Indian Industrial Organisation ens 10 and 11. 

§ 45 Famine Prevention. To protect the famine 
stricken and to relieve them is one and the same thing. If 
we restrict the term protection to relief activities pure and 
simple and to their immediate consequences only, all other 
activities on a large scale, and spread, with their conse- 
quences, over a period longer than the mere duration of a 
famine,-with the famine as their starting-point, the reduc- 
tion of famines in extent intensity or frequency as their 
motive,-would be, logically speaking, activities aiming at 
the prevention of famine. Some of these activities and poli- 
cies might have other effects also. Railways, for instance, 
reduce distances, unify the country, break down the 
isolation of the various parts, remove their ignorance of 
one another, make people more mobile, and while 
reducing their dependence upon and attachment to 
their birthplace increase their feeling of conscious attach- 
ment to the area of their own language and to India as a 
whole. Railways foster trade. Railways enable a smaller 
army to hold down a larger area more effectively than could 
a larger army a smaller area in the absence of such an 
effective help to rapidity of marching. An administration 
armed with a well-planned system of railways could rule 
over a very extensive area from one centre with a very 
small number of officers. Towns grow up more rapidly, 
epidemics spread faster in a region possessing a network 


of railways than in one with only the old-world means of 
locomotion. Thus railways have political social and cul- 
tural effects as well as economic. And as long as there 
are areas in India which produce a surplus of food grains, 
to connect such areas by railways with others liable to 
suffer now and then from a deficiency, is to relieve the 
distress of the latter areas not only on a particular occasion 
but it is also to prevent a recurrence of it in future. Thus 
a well-planned policy of railway extensions spread over 
several decades is a policy of famine prevention, as long 
as in spite of deficient productiveness in some parts, a 
region as a whole produces sufficient for its needs as a 
whole. And from the point of view of administrators try- 
ing to cope with famine conditions, railway construction 
has this additional merit that the first stages of the actual 
construction only require unskilled labour working in 
large gangs. 

Digging irrigation tanks and canals has also this merit 
of requiring unskilled labour in gangs. And irrigation 
has the further merit of bringing additional land under 
cultivation and winning a larger return from cultivation 
than before. It thus adds to the total output. It also 
enables an area to become independent of rainfall itself* 
at least for one season. If the drought be prolonged the 
sources of supply which irrigation distributes dry up, but 
such a contingency is so very rare, it might be left out of 
our ordinary calculations. 

If we confine our attention mainly to famine needs, 
the superiority of a policy of extending irrigation to one 
of extending railways is'not open to question. But it does 
not follow that the Indian government have been wrong 
in giving precedence to railways during the latter half of 
the nineteenth century. State policy is a complex whole 
where the resources available at any moment have to be 
carefully weighed against the needs of the moment, and 
the best possible working compromise sought out. The 


higher utility of a rapid extension of railways from military 
administrative and political points of view cannot be ques- 
tioned. Perhaps, all that can be said is that if irrigation 
extensions could have been provided earlier than they 
were, and at a quicker rate of progress, the country would 
have benefited more or suffered less. But this does not 
mean that such extensions could or ought to have been 
provided at that particular time. In matters of high policy 
there is no absolute principle corresponding to the cate- 
gorical imperative of the intuitionist school of moral philo- 
sophy. In any country, however rich, the point is soon 
reached, when the statesman has to decide how to invest 
his last million of the available resources; his attitude of 
mind is — 'here, now, I have only this last million : what 
shall I do with it — Railways ? Irrigation? ' He must make 
his choice. He cannot have both. And railways having 
had a start, railways being in possession, so to speak, 
railways being by far the larger property, and a property, 
too, that was a losing concern and could only be converted 
into one that paid by further development of it as early as 
possible, — it is not at all surprising that he should have 
decided in favour of railways, especially in view of their 
political and military utility also. Lastly, the choice once 
made, it was endorsed by the highest authority and could 
not be departed from. Sir Arthur Cotton, the great advo- 
cate of a rapid extension of irrigation in India succeeded 
on account of the famine of 1877 in attracting attention to 
his ideas; John Bright and other prominent men felt that 
England owed it to India and to herself to sift the matter 
thoroughly, and a select committee was appointed with Lord 
George Hamilton, the then Under-Secretary of State for 
India, as chairman (January 22, 1878). Before this 
committee Sir Arthur Cotton macfe the mistakes of both 
claiming too much for irrigation, and running down rail- 
ways too far. The Committee decided for railways, and 
their verdict settled the policy for twenty years ' 
1 Dutt, India in Victorian Age, r.fc, 9. 



It has been urged, however, that we have also to look 
at the other side of the shield. As railways spread, factory 
goods invaded Indian markets and conquered them, Indian 
manufacturers (producing by the hand, using only tools 
and implements of a primitive type ) lost their customers, 
agriculture or casual unskilled labour were the only other 
occupations open to them, and thus railway extension at 
a rapid pace has meant the progressive degradation and 
ruralisation of the population. Even if political and mili- 
tary needs justified a forward railway policy, if it had been 
developed gradually, the invasion of Indian industries 
which maintained hundreds of thousands of skilled work- 
men each working on a small scale, by foreign large-scale 
industries organised in factories, would have proceeded 
more slowly; there might have been time for adjustments; 
and a stronger better balanced healthier economic organi- 
sation might have come about. As it was, the policy 
adopted of railway extension at the greatest possible speed, 
even out of additional revenues raised by fresh taxation, 
must be charged, at least in part, with causing the famine 
condition, or rather the inability of large masses of the 
people to tide over even the loss of a single harvest, — for 
which it was claimed to be the best if not the only remedy. 
M. G. Ranade appears to have been the first Indian to de- 
velop this point of view, in the seventies of the nineteenth 
century. 2 This indictment of the government railway 
policy has been frequently repeated since, and not only by 
Indian writers. Perhaps its best exponent is Mr. Loveday 
who reproduces it as under in his valuable essay on 
Indian Famines. 

"It involves (he says ) no criticism of the ultimate benefit accruing 
from the Government's policy to consider the possible damage which 
that policy has caused in the past. The extraordinary rapidity ( of rail- 

2 "About 22 years ago I had occasion to notice this collapse of do- 
mestic industries, and the gradual rustification of our chief occupations, 
in a series of lectures which have been published...," he said, in 1893 
( Assays in Indian Economics, pp. 102-3 ). 


way extension in India ) produced an economic revolution,... not unac- 
companied by suffering. The obligation to save life in times of drought 
and the necessity of lines of strategic utility ...have been the cause of that 
rapidity; and it has had for effect the destruction of the native industri- 
es, and the concentration of labour on that very employment to which 
droughts are the most dangerous. Had strategic or economic considera- 
tions allowed the change to be more gradual, it is conceivable that 
greater powers of resistance might have been shown by the native indus- 
tries, that labour might have drifted to other occupations as well 
as to agriculture. ..The commission of 1898 drew attention to the decrea- 
se in the real wages of labour... Manufactured goods of the West have 
been imported, raw produce has been given in exchange; the pr'ce level 
of the former has sunk with the increase of supply, the price level of 
the latter has risen with the increase in demand. It is true, no doubt, 
that those districts which export the greatest quantities of raw produce 
and grain are on the whole the least subject to drought. But the importa- 
tion of manufactured articles and the consequent decay of home indus- 
tries, cannot be measured by the statistics of the export trade. Though 
pulse and millets, the products of the poorer districts, constitute but a 
minute fraction of the total export of grain, the explanation of the 
strength of the demand of those districts for British textiles is to be 
fonnd in the figures of the coastal trade and the extent of internal 
commerce.' 3 

So much space has been given to this controversy be- 
cause of the importance of the principles underlying it, 
and because the aim of this book is a historical treatment. 
Throughout the nineteenth century India produced food 
supplies sufficient for her needs. That controlling circum- 
stance rendered the extension of irrigation — and an abso- 
lute increase iu her total production of food — comparatively 
less important then. But in an earlier section of this 
chapter we have seen reason to believe that India no longer 
produces enough food for herself. It might be said in- 
deed that we have not at present suificient statistical in- 
formation as to the cultivation and produce of all our food- 
grains and until such additional information is recorded all 
over India, we are not in a position to arrive at any conclu- 
sion on the subject. Calculations like Mr. Dubey's are no 
better than guesses, however carefully made. Such scepti- 
cism, however, goes too far. Where exact conclusions are not 

3 History and Economics of Indian Famines, pp. 106-126. 


available, 'probability is the guide of life' And in this parti- 
cular case our recent experience consequent upon the 
partial monsoon failure of 1 91 8 afforded ample confirmation. 
The deficiency in the supply then disclosed, especially in 
certain food-grains, was so great, and the rise in prices in 
consequence was so abnormal, 4 that we can no longer afford 
to be easy-going in the matter. The policy of famine 
prevention now required, is, in the first place, a policy to 
increase our total annual production of food-supply as 
much and as quickly as possible. More irrigation, more 
and better manuring, better implements, and in one word 
better tillage all round, that is the most urgent need 
of today. 

Luckily, the department of Agriculture, founded on 
the recommendation of the Famine Commission of 1880, 
and steadily developed since, especially by Lord Curzon, 
is aware of the need and is facing the problem in 
all its complexities. At the annual meeting of the 
Board of Agriculture in December 1919 it was resolved that 

( 1 ) there should be an export tax on oil-seeds and cakes, ( 2 ) and that a 
total prohibition of the export of bones, horns, and fish manure was 
necessary, because the conservation of such natural manures for use in 
the country itself was a matter of the gravest importance ; that for a 
rapid extension of irrigation it was necessary ( 3 ) to revise the maxi- 
mum charges for irrigation water in view of the new level of prices, and 
( 4 ) to encourage the sinking of wells ( 5 ) of small bores and ( 6 ) deep 
borings; that ( 7 ) rivers and other sources of water should be surveyed 
with a view to segect sites where, in seasons of drought, the water could 
be profitably lifted and utilised by oilengines and pumps; that ( 8 ) 
the loss through erosion and the run-off of the water from the land was 
enormous, and to prevent this, as far as possible, the importance of 

4 Prices in July 1919 compared to prices in July 1914: rice had 
riiseu from 26% in Assam to 73% in C. P., wheat had risen from 38% 
in Assam to 1.00% in C. P., millets had risen from 102% in U. P., to 132% 
in Bombay, — India in 19 W, \\ 66. Export of grain, pulse and flours 
from India proper (excluding Burma) amounted to 10*2 million ton 
during the 5 years 1909-10 to 1913-14; to 5*2 million tons during the nex t 
five years (Ibid p. 65). See also in the same government publication 
the scarcity chart, 1919, and the rain fall charts 1918 and 1919 and 
for full details the annual Review of the Trade of India. 


embankments and a better lay-out of the land should be emphasized; 
that, to prevent the loss of cattle, as far as possible, (9) grass areas 
should be improved, (10) fodder storage should be studied and extended, 
and (11) emergency fodder-stuffs, such as prickly pear and nim (sfhr ) 
leaves should he studied and the best methods of utilising theru as- 
certained; (12) that grain storage in large quantities should also be 
studied; that, to obviate as far as possible the enormous loss inflicted 
by 1 a single' monsoon failure which runs into hundreds of crores when it 
is at all extensive. (13) dry tillage, drought resistant crops and varieties 
of crops, and crops that would ripen early should be specially studied 
and, finally, 

(14) that "in the opinion of the Board, the problem of 
famine prevention and relief has now assumed a new 
aspect. The established policy of relief works and gratui- 
tous relief depends for success on the existence, some- 
where in India, of adequate stores of grain, while the very 
success of relief operations tends to obliterate the motives 
which, in the past, created local stores of grain. The 
Board is therefore of opinion that a special enquiry should 
now be made into the means whereby a sufficiency of food- 
stuffs can be secured even in the event of two successive 
monsoon failures. The Board considers that the best 
agency for making such an enquiry would be a strong- 
Famine Commission appoiuted by the Government 
of India".' 

The above programme, extensive as it is, appears to 
need still further extension in more than one direction. 
Agricultural and wild or forest produce other than food- 
grains— textile products, woods, gums, &c— should also 
be attended to ; with a careful and steady development of 
our vast natural resources, sufficient quantities of these 
can be produced not only for our own use in the raw state 
and as the raw materials for various industries, but there 
should also be a growing surplus available for export. 
It is far better to export these both in the natural state and 
various more or less finished and manufactured forms, 

5 Proceedings of the Board of Agriculture held at Pusa, 1-121919 
and following days; see esp. pp, 53-M&6, 83-90, and 116-?. 


than to export food grains and flour, oil-seeds, oil-cakes 
and oil, fish and fish manure, bones and horns, and 
similar necessaries, of which we now find, we have not 
a sufficient supply even for our own needs. 

In the second place, one of the outstanding defects of 
British rule in India has been that it has never realised 
how great is the need of a special cattle polic}?" in this vast 
agricultural country, that will not use butcher's meat as 
an article of diet, and depends far more than perhaps any 
other mass of humanity of such magnitude, upon plough 
cattle for its agriculture and transport, and upon milch 
cattle for indispensable ingredients in its dietary in sub- 
stantial quantities. The great mortality of cattle in the 
famine of 1 900 gave almost the first shock to the ingrained 
indifference of the European mind to the subject. The 
repetition of that experience in later years, including 1918, 
has led to further reflection. That it is necessary to preserve 
breeds with special qualities, that model cattle farms are 
needed all over the country, that more fodder must be 
produced, that the cruelly high child mortality in cities 
cannot be reduced without a far larger supply of milk, 
cheap and pure, than is available, are propositions which 
are at length being more and more seriously considered. 
But it does not appear even yet that the problem is being 
envisaged as a whole in all its complexity. A cattle policy 
like that of France where there are no useless or under- 
sized cattle, where only the best are kept, treated as well 
as possible, and worked as hard as possible, but kept 
only while they are in their prime *, is a policy that the 
European understands. There is hardly any difference in 
the European's attitude towards trees and towards cattle. 
The meat and the milk, the hide and the labour, the feed 
and the return obtained, are all entered on one side of the 
account or the other, the maximum of profit realised, and 
the necessary action taken at the right moment. To the 

6 See Keatinge, Rural Economy, pp. 130-131, 


Indian it is not a question of a mere gain and loss account ; 
religious sentimeut enters into it and is even the decisive 
factor. This our rulers have known all along ; but a state 
policy providing for steady increase in the cattle popula- 
tion of India, sufficient to supply the increasing needs of 
the growing human population, without any deterioration 
in quality or an undue increase in the prices the individual 
has to pay, — is still a problem for the future to solve. 

Thirdly, suppose economic holdings constituted, sup- 
pose the live stock, the capital, the implements and the 
skill of the cultivator improved ; suppose further that co- 
operative societies enable him to get the current capital he 
needs, and to buy what he requires and sell what he pro- 
duces, without middlemen sticking their greedy fingers 
in : the lot of the average cultivator will be undoubtedly 
far better than at present. But will there not still be cases 
by the hundred thousand in which the farmer and his 
family and cattle are stinted, cases in which the ' hardly 
one full meal a day' condition persists ? They do not 
know their India well who do not realise that one tap-root 
of India's eternal poverty is that the agriculturist and his' 
dependents in the village home have not enough remunera- 
tive work to do all the year. How can there be a suffici- 
ency of production for the masses at the bottom of society 
unless in return for hard full-time labour ? Agriculture in 
India even with rich irrigated and manured land, does not 
furnish work all the year round. In the busy season there 
is so much work, there is hardly labour enough to get 
through it iu time. And as we descend in the scale of 
land, capital and crops, the quantum of work agriculture 
provides is less and less. The moral is, there must be 
subsidiary occupations in the village ; a comprehensive 
policy of cottage industries and remunerative village 
employments must be developed. 

Finally and more generally, the well-known recom- 
mendation of the famine commission of 1880 is as true 


today us then : "No remedy for present evils could be 
complete that did not include the introduction of a diversity 
of occupations through whicji the surplus population might 
be drawn off from agricultural employments and led to 
find the means of subsistence in manufactures or some 
such employments ". 

§ 46 Railways. The "industrial revolution" or the 
transition from a mediaeval economy of production dis- 
tribution and exchange, rural and selfcontained, to a mo- 
dern economy resting rather on world trade and large 
scale production by specialised labour and machinery, was 
inaugurated in India before the Mutiny, by Dalhousie's 
" far-reaching schemes of railways, roads, canals, and pub- 
lic works." ] It was Dalhousie who planned the grand 
trunk lines, Mayo added connecting links and feeder lines, 
financial exigencies delayed the execution of the schemes 
and in the meanwhile families altered them here and there 
and added 'protective* lines, the larger Native States fol- 
lowed the initiative of British India, although at a great 
distance, and, latterly, public bodies like port-trusts and 
rural boards have added a few short lines here and there. 
Private joint stock companies without any concession from 
the state except, in the matter of land have also construct- 
ed some lines. 2 The first railway to be opened for traffic 
was the Bombay to Thana section of the G. I. P. Railway? 
in 1853. Jabnlpur was reached by the East Indian Rail- 
way from Calcutta in 1867, by the G.I P. from Bombay 
in 1870; Raichur was reached from Madras in 1862 
and from Bombay in 1871; and at one end Dehli and 
at the other Mysore were reached in 1862. The mileage 
open exceeded the first five thousand miles by 1871, and 

1 Dalhonsie (Kofi) p. 11. Before he became G, G. only three 
short linos had been sanctioned in 1845, — Calcutta to ftaniganj, Madras 
to Arkonam, and Bombay to Kalyan, total mileage 192 miles. 

2 E.g. The J3arsi Light Ry, 117 miles; the Bengal Provncinl, 33 


every additional live thousand miles by 1882, 1880, 1SQ6, 
1901, 1907, and 1915. s The first ten thousand miles Look 
about thirty years to build; the next thirty years added 
nearly twenty-five thousand miles. The Great War broke 
out August 1914, and the progress since has naturally 
been very much slower. 193 7-18 was the worst year, 
when three hundred miles of broad gauge were dis- 
mantled for war purposes, and only about three 
hundred and fifty miles of new metre and narrow gauge 
lines could be opened. 4 The total mileage open at the 
end of 1919-20 was a little over 36,500 miles, nearly a half 
on the broad, and a little over fifteen thousand on the 
metre gauge. 5 Nearly two thousand miles more have been 
sanctioned and are under construction. The most impor- 
tant of the projects in different stages of consideration are 
a causeway line of a little over twenty miles to connect 
India and Ceylon across the sandbank of Adam's Bridge ; 
and a railway from India to Burma, either from Chittagong 
to the rice-lands of Arrakan, or along the Hukwong valley 
in the, north. 

The capital needed was originally raised by a free 
grant of land and a guarantee of five per cent annual inte- 
rest. Other conditions were that when the railway earned 
more than five per cent, half the surplus was to be handed 
over to the state every half year, and the construction 
working and management of the line were to be controlled 
by the state. The companies thus assured of their five 
per cent on every pie spent, had no motive for economy, or 
even for building the lines quickly or at a steady pace. 
Their engineers with only English experience to guide 
them had to pick up a knowledge of Indian conditions as 
they proceeded with the work, a process which turned out 
very costly indeed. Their standards of solidity and 

3 See the chart India in 1919. 

4 The broad gauge is H feet in width ; metre, 3/3&J ; narrow, 2£ and 2 

5 Of the total a little over 5000 miles were owned by Native States. 



thoroughness were too high. And they were men of such 
conservative and swadeshi (^ftRft) ideas, mechanics of 
almost every type were at first brought over all the way 
from England. For instance, no Indian seems to have 
been employed as an engine driver upto 1875. English 
engine drivers cost at least £ 100 more per head per year, 
the wastage was high so that larger cadres had to be 
maintained, and later when Indians came to be employed 
as engine drivers and in other capacities — the departure 
was first made, perhaps, on the state lines to be presently 
mentioned, — it was also found that they u worked longer 
hours and gave far less trouble." 6 The government 
wanted quicker progress at less capital outlay and with 
cheaper working. The old contracts, moreover, had been 
worded so loosely, their powers of control or check could 
not be exercised in practice. And the guarantee meant 
an increasing loss, which by 1869 had grown to an annual 
tax of one and a half millions sterling. Even "dear 
railways are far better than none, " says Chesney. 7 
There is, however, a limit to the price that even a despo- 
tic government can afford. The Government of India 
decided to give no more guarantees and to build its own 
railways. From 1869-70 it began to provide about two 
crores a year for the purpose. In 1875 the sum was 
raised to four crores. 8 War and famine followed. For 
the next few years the only sum the state could spare 
was what could be made available from the annual Famine 
Insurance Fund for the construction of ' protective ' lines. 
Thus,the old plan of railway construction through compa- 
nies attracted by means of a guarantee had to be reverted 
to. But the guarantee given was lower and the contracts 
were more carefully drawn up. The state also needed at 

6 See Fawoett, Indian Finance, p. 66. 

7 P, 304. 

8 The Rajputana Malwa Railway is a good example of the class of 
state railways. Its main line from Dehli and Agra to Ahmedahad was 
constructed, 1873-79. 


ouce some lines, neither productive nor ' protective' but 
even more urgent because 'strategic', and a committee of 
the House of Commons examined the whole subject, about 
the same time as Lord George Hamilton's Irrigation Com- 
mittee mentioned in the last section, and advised a loan of 
about two and a half crores to be raised in India annually, 
and to be spent, two crores on state lines of railways, half 
a crore on irrigation. Another committee in 1883 thought 
a loan of about a crore more might be raised and spent 
upon railways. In the nineties a fresh effort was^made to 
recast the contracts with English companies and the 
terms to be granted to them. A guarantee of from 
two and a half to three and a half per cent 9 or a certain 
percentage of the net earnings of existing lines on the 
traffic brought to them by the new lines to be granted 
to these latter as a rebate as long as their own earnings 
did not yield a certain percentage of profit, and all surplus 
profits to be shared when they accrued, were the new 
terms. And, more recently, a few hundred miles of rail- 
ways of local importance have been constructed on the 
security of the resources of district boards, supplemented, 
if necessary, by the levy of a new cess for the purpose. 
All the contracts, right from the time of Lord Dalhousie> 
included terms for the purchase of the line by the State 
at stated periods. Cases have happened, nevertheless, in 
which on the first date arriving, the state unaccountably 
failed to assert its right. From 1880 onwards, however 
when the East Indian Railway was acquired and the 
working again entrusted to the same company under 
special arrangements, 10 the policy has been followed of 
acquiring a line whenever it could be done according 
to the terms of the first contract with it, and handing 

9 E. g. The Burma Rys Co., formed 1897, accepted 2|%; the 
Assam Bengal, 1392, 3? ; the Tapti Valley Ry* is an example of ». 
Co. accepting rebate terms. 

10 For a summary of those seo Moral and M atrial Pfoaves* ftcpori, 
1882-3, p. 270. 


over the working under a fresh contract to the same 
company or to another working a connected line. 
Some state lines, e. g. the Rajputana Malwa Railway, have 
also been handed over for working, the state only exercis- 
ing general control. In the case of all such lines owned by 
the state, and worked by people who are not state officials 
but servants of independent companies, the fresh capital 
needed for extensions, laying down extra lines, increase of 
rolling stock, improvement of bridges, stations, &c, has to 
be provided by the state, just as in the case of lines which 
are both owned and worked by the state itself. Thus the 
Indian railway system as a whole is a growing property, 
which can fulfil its functions, pay its way, and yield a 
profit besides, only as long as it is kept in proper repairs 
and developed, moreover, by the pursuit of a steady and in- 
telligent policy regularly requiring fresh amounts of capital 
to be sunk into it. Railways develop trade and human 
movements, and these react by making a growing demand 
for better equipped lines, more frequent and quicker ser- 
vices, and new extensions. Hence, in the course of the first 
decade of this century, it was decided that in allotting fresh 
capital the pressing needs of open lines were to rank first, 
and of lines under construction, company's lines were to 
rank before state lines. Plans for new lines were to go 
through various stages of scrutiny, and were to be passed 
for construction only as these prior claims allowed of it 
The system as a whole began to 3 r ield a clear profit to the 
state from 1899-1900. The average profit for the four 
years upto 1907-08 was nearly three crores a year, and 
although in 1908-09 there was a loss, the profit has gone 
on increasing since. It is a vast asset representing 
in the aggregate over & 380 millions of capital, yielding 
an annual net income of from five to seven per cent. " 

This railway system, vast as our country is vast, is 
admittedly an imperium in i?7iperio, in many ways coming 

11 The profit to the state is this income minus interest, annuity, 
sinking fund and other charges. 


closer to the people than the state itself, and exercising a 
direct influence over the production and distribution of 
wealth, the success or failure of business and other activi- 
ties, and the comfort or discomfort of masses of the people, 
second to that of no other human agency in the country. 
It is ruled over by a body of men as small as the Indian 
Civil Service, who also form a caste of foreigners even 
more exclusive and more unsympathetic. Immediately 
under them is a larger body of ' Anglo-Indians', Eura- 
sians, and others, who hate the Indian more than any 
other class of men in the country, who have for the poor starv- 
ing down-trodden 'cooly', only terms of abuse accentuated 
by kicks, and who have really no other manner or behaviour 
for the clerks and 'babus' doing all the intricate recording 
accounting and inspecting of the railways, or for the 
third class passengers or for any other Indians whatever. 
Most of these men, again, are 'volunteers', and there are 
hardly any other volunteers except in the few centres of 
the European mercantile or planting communities ; thus, 
these men have arms and a trace, however slight, of military 
discipline, while all around them is Indian humanity, so 
mild their mildness is a vice, so accustomed to bear mal- 
treatment uncomplainingly. From Sir John Lawrence to 
Mr. Gandhi prominent men in every decade have raised 
their voice against the maltreatment of the third class 
passenger and the middle class Indian gentleman by the 
railways and the railway-men. Mr. Curtis relates an inci- 
dent in which a railway official while talking to him defer- 
entially, kicked back like "a vicious mule" at an Indian 
passenger who had just happened to brush his back under 
circumstances in which "it was physically impossible for 
anything else to happen. 1 ' 12 The wrongs of the third class 
passenger are a defect of the system. The vices of the 
railway official are a defect connected with the personnel 
of the railway staff. The only remedy for the latter is to 

12 Dyarchy p XLIX, 


dilute the railway staff with increasing numbers of middle 
class Indians. The true remedy for the former would 
involve an amount of expenditure which can only be provi- 
ded by replacing the present very expensive and inefficient 
administration by one cheaper as well as more efficient. 

The real cost of the railway system to the country is 
far greater than the railway accounts by themselves can 
ever show. This extra cost is again partly the fault of the 
system and partly that of the men in office, and consequ- 
ently in power. Sir F.Lely's comments on railway rates 13 
pillory concrete instances, examined by him about 1903, 
and these serve as well as any later ones to expose 
•the faults of the system. The railway rates for goods 
have been so fixed as to injure the coasting trade and 
ruin the petty ports. "No one in his senses would 
object to free and fair competition between land and sea. 
But is it free and fair ? The boat has the great natural 
advantage of being cheap, but it is slow and subject to 
greater risk. With fair play all round, much merchandise 
would take the rail, while other, such as coal, would 
prefer the water". But the railway fixes a rate for coal, 
coconuts, timber, and other goods of the kind, from 
Bombay to Broach or from Broach to Bombay, fifty to 
sixty per cent lower than the rate between the very next 
station north of it or south and Bombay ; with the result 
that the boats which plied between Broach and Bombay 
by scores even upto the last generation have lost their 
occupation more and more and ceased to be. The rates 
again are the same from Bombay to Agra as, say, from 
Ahmedabad to Agra. Foreign matches going from Bom- 
bay to Agra are charged the same freight as Indian matches 
made at Ahmedabad and sent to Agra. 

13 SiKjycstions. pp 93-130: I omit his example of the adulteration of 
cotton or the substitution of inferior cotton for superior The difference 
';n prices is so great that I do not see how mere railway rating, however 
ingeniously planued, could stop such tricks of the trade, 


"In Other words the state guaranteed [B. B. and C. I. Railway and the 
state owned Rajputaua Malwa ] Railway was giving a bounty to the 
foreign manufacturer equivalent to the whole cost of carriage between 
Bombay and Ahmedabad. It would strain the powers of a viceroy 
to do as much for a home trade ..The Traffic Manager argued that 
competition from Karachi and Calcutta forced the railway to quote 
lower rares from Bombay. The Bombay government could not help, 
because this was an imperial matter. Tn other words not one but; 
every narive industry entering the field must be trampled dow T n in 
a struggle for freight among tho railways. ..The Traffic Manager wields 
au irresponsible power over the country commanded by his railway, 
which should not be entrusted to any man, and least of all to one 
who, rightly from his point of view, regards only his masters' dividend 
and certain wide limits set down by Government. By a slight readjust* 
ment of rates he can, and sometimes does, break down a flourishing trade 
or transfer it to another part of the country; he can, and sometimes 
does, crush a rising home manufacture in favour of a foreign customer. 
An amended Code of Civil Procedure occupies for days and months 
the wisest of the land, but is of less practical consequence to the people 
of a district than a new edition of their Local Goods Traffic Book." 

Top-heavy establishments, with officers paid at fancy 
rates, necessarily involve numbers of overworked under- 
paid men without prospects, in the subordinate ranks. 
The necessary consequence is a large amount of delay, 
ingenious creation of technical difficulties, petty thieving, 
and wholesale systematised corruption. All this is an 
extra burden on the trade of the country and must ulti- 
mately come out of the pockets of the consumer. Can any 
one venture even to calculate how enormous this is? 
The railway system of a country is a monopoly created and 
maintained by the state, and it is as much the duty of the 
state to see that it does not take much more out of the 
pockets of the people than the charges publicly levied, as 
it is universally recognised to be, in the case of the taxa- 
tion it levies directly, through the agency of its own officers. 

§ 47 Irrigation. India is a land as various as it is 
vast. There are desert lands within it-Sindh, parts of 
the Punjab- which depend altogether upon an artificial or 
man-contrived supply of water for cultivation and popu- 
lation; there are within it wide regions where the rainfall 


is deficient and irregular, and the crops in consequence 
more or less precarious unless the thirsty fields could get 
water at the right time and in the right quantities from 
some conveniently placed store ; those parts of India, 
even, which have an adequate rainfall as a rule, would be 
benefited by irrigational facilities in more ways than one. 
Every few years there is a drought, when of course there 
would be hardly any crops but for such facilities ; almost 
every year there are breaks in the rains, and any one of 
them lasting two or three days longer, might reduce the 
final outturn more or less seriously; and even in good 
years, with the help of irrigation, three crops could be 
raised per year or two, instead of only two or one. With 
the exception of the districts of the heavy black soil where 
cotton is the King of the crops, there is hardly any region 
of India which does not gain largely by irrigation facili- 
ties. Lift irrigation, where the sub-soil water is reach- 
ed by a well and raised vertically upwards by means of 
a ieather-bag or a rotating wheel of pots, h^s been practis- 
ed in India from times immemorial. Madras is, relatively 
speaking, the province best supplied with wells, but in 
Bombay and the Punjab too, they might be counted by lakhs, 
and U. P. andC. P. are also increasing them at a fair rate. 
One of the best legacies handed down to us by the religi- 
ous past, is our sentiment that the building of wells and 
stepwells is an act of piety, and rajas and their officers, 
merchant princes and their ladies, and sanyasi managers 
of religious foundations have all vied with one another in 
building and repairing wells all over this sunbaked land. 
The roads of the Emperor Asoka had trees on both sides, 
and rest-houses for man and beast at convenient intervals, 
and a well at each rest house. Nor were the Pathan Sul- 
tans and the Mogul Emperors behindhand in following 
a custom so obviously recommended by the climate. We 
first read of takavi grants for the building of wells in the 
terrible famine of 1 345 under Muhammad Tughlak ; the 
principle has been acted upon with increasing liberality 


in the British government from 1 868 ; and the Irrigation 
Commission, 1901-03, recommended a further development. 
of the policy ; and also a lower rate of interest, a longer 
period for the repayment of the principal, arid the remis- 
sion of a part of the loan if the well failed from the first 
or at a later date. They also proposed a subsoil water- 
survey and trial borings, quoting as examples the borings 
io Sholapur district audjit Nausari. 1 A more active policy 
in tnes? directions has begun with the famine of 1907. 

Wells are the property of private individuals. So are 
small tanks and shallow pits which the rains fill wrth a 
supply of water that lasts a few months. They are very 
numerous in Madras, ani there are a good many in Bengal 
also. The comparatively large ones are treated as the 
joint property of the village. There are a number of more 
or less natural depressions in the U. P., called jkils, which 
are also similarly owned and utilised. They are apt to 
fail just when most wanted, when the drought is prolonged, 
but while the water-supply lasts it is very useful indeed 
for the crops, especially at a pinch. The area irrigated by 
each is small, but because of their numbers, the total area 
helped, just as in the case of wells, is corrsiderable. The large 
Jakes, on the other hand, are the property of the state. The 
cost of constructing them is heavy, but the very large volu- 
me of water stored up in them can be distributed for miles. 
These storage irrigation works were not unknown to pre- 
British India. The Sudarshan ( m%£v$ ) lake near the Gir- 
roar, an irrigation reservoir created by damming up a small 
stream, served the tillage of neighbouring villages for four 
centuries, until it was destroyed by a storm in 150 A. D. 
Rudradaman rebuilt the dam "three times stronger;" a 
storm burst it once more, it was again repaired in 458 A. 
D. ; and then this 'Lake Beautiful' sinks below the horizon 

1 Cb. 5 section 2, aud cb, 7, 



of history. 2 These facts are recorded on the celebrated 
fragment of the Asoka pillar near Junagadh. And for 
southern India in mediaeval times we have the testimony 
of Paes how the Vijayanagar monarch had a tank built 
with the labour of several thousands "looking like ants so 
that you could not see the land)" 3 Modern engineering 
has of course far greater resources and modern states can, 
by providing a lakh per year, say, from the annual revenue 
for only ten years, borrow twenty lakhs, which could be 
spent at once and repaid in thirty to forty years, that is 
to say, practically out of the new revenue derived from 
the work when completed. So wherever there is a gorge 
or other suitable site, and plenty of water running to 
waste that could be held up by a dam, the dam could be 
built, provided remunerative uses could be found for the 
water. Perhaps the most striking of the lakes and reser- 
voirs the British government has built for irrigation pur- 
poses, is the Periar Lake three thousand feet above sea- 
level in the 9tate of Travancore, which stores up the sur- 
plus water of the Periar river flowing into the Arabian Sea, 
and carries it by a tunnel, across the watershed, into the 
Vaigai river, which flows across the peninsula into the Bay 
of Bengal near Madura. The work was opened in 1896, 
and is capable of irrigating two lakhs of acres. 

More important than irrigation by means of storage 
works, is canal irrigation. This also has been practised 
in India in localities suitable to it from a remote past. 
The province of Sindh, for instance, is full of the channels 
of old canals. The passage from Megasthenes already 
quoted would apply also to irrigation of this description, 
And the Kings of Vijayanagar cut irrigation canals from 

2 Vincent Smith Early India pp. 132-3. The historian also quotes 
Megasthenes who has noted that Chandragupta's officers "measure the 
land, as in Egypt, and inspect the sluices carrying the water into the 
branch canals, so that every oae may enjoy his fair share of the benefit/' 

3 Sewell 


the Tungbhadra as well as built largo lakes, where possible. 
But perhaps the greatest surviving monument of Ancient 
India in this class of work is the 'Grand Anicut' or weir 
in the Kaveri delta, which is believed to have been origin- 
ally constructed in the first centuries of the Christian era* 
The Jamna Canal of Firoz Shah Tughlak and the Agra 
Canal of the Mogul Emperors were the most extensive 
works of the kind attempted in Muhammadan India, But 
( the inundation and perennial canals of British engineers 
have far surpassed any pre~British works of the kind both 
in magnitude and utility. The construction of productive 
irrigation works of this type out of loans might have pro- 
ceeded at a quicker rate, but for the failure of two great 
projects at an early date in the history of irrigation. Sir 
Arthur Cotton's Tungbhadra project was undertaken by 
the Madras Irrigation and Canal Company in 1863 with a 
capital of one million pounds and a guarantee of five per 
cent; only a small section of it, however, was ever cons- 
tructed, and the company had to be bought off by the 
government in 1883. Sir Arthur's Orissa canal scheme 
was undertaken by the East India Irrigation and Canal 
Company in 1860, without any guarantee, but the Company 
could not raise the necessary funds, and had to be bought 
off in 18^8. Hence it was that the construction of irriga- 
tion works could not be proceeded with by means of com- 
panies ; government had to construct them itself out of 
loan funds and surplus revenues. Sir John Lawrence 
began this new* policy with the repair reconstruction and 
extension of the West Jamna Canal ; the renovated canal 
was able to irrigate five lakhs of acres, and subsequent 
extensions have increased its capacity still further. The 
Agra Canal also from the Jamna was restored and improv- 
ed, and it was opened in 1874. The first original work 
constructed by the British government, — begun 1848, 
opened by Dalhousie 1 854-— was the Ganges Canal, follow- 
ed up later by the Lower Ganges Canal, opened 1878, each 
of which became capable of watering over eight lakhs of 


I N m A is a i > M f N 1 SI 1 R A T T O N 

acres. Bit works of this character cannot be judged solely 
with reference to the area irrigated by them. The great 
triumphs of modern engineering skill in this line are to be 
seen in the Punjab. The Himalayan snows are perennial 
stores of water, which, as they melt, send continual sup- 
plied down the innumerable streams which coalesce into 
the noble rivers that ultimately fall into the Indus. The 
slope of the land is also all that the heart of the engineer 
could desire, and extensive tracts in the province have a 
soil that without water is desert sands, but with water 
yields rich crops of a high quality year after year. The 
Punjab canals had in 1905 the capacity of irrigating over 
five million acres, and during the last fifteen years this has 
almost doubled. What this means in terms of concrete 
plenty and prosperity, the canal colonies of the Punjab 
reveal at a glance and in the most convincing manner. 
The best example is the Chenab Canal Colony in the Re- 
chna Doab. With an area of 3900 square miles, in 1892 it 
was inhabited by 70,000 nomads. In nine years it was 
transformed into a busy hive of 791,000 flourishing agricul- 
turists; and by 1912, the population had risen to 1,111,000. 
The indirect gain from relief of pressure to the congested 
areas of the Punjab was nearly as great. The Triple Ca- 
nal Project recommended by the Irrigation Commission 
( 1901-3 ) and sanctioned in 1904, has combined into one 
the Upper Jhelam, Upper Chenab, and Lower Bari canal 
systems at a cost of over seven million pounds, and was 
declared open in 1912. The great service rendered by 
the Irrigation Commission (1901-03) in recommending 
greater expenditure on irrigation works and a more liberal 
policy about advances for wells has been already men- 
tioned. Perhaps their greatest service resided in chang- 
ing the attitude of government altogether as to the proper 
view to take of the costliness as well as the utility of 
irrigation works in regions unfavourable to their construc- 
tion. The Sindh canals for instance irrigated two and a 
half million acres at a capital cost oi two million pounds. 


The canals in Gujrat and the Deccah irrigated no more 
than 340,^00 acres and at a capital cost of over four 
milliuii pounds. 4 A simple arithmetical calculation show- 
ed how much more productive a pound was when spent 
in one part of the presidency than in the other. The 
Commission argued, however, from the direct losses the 
recent famines had inflicted on people and State alike ; 
they took the district of Sholapur as an example, which 
had cost on an average Rs. five lakhs a year on famine 
relief for a period of thirty-three years, added to this the 
further loss due to loss of revenue and the lowered 
economic condition of the people, and thus argued that 
quite a different standard of profit and loss applied to 
irrigation schemes in regions which had the double 
misfortune of offering little scope for such schemes, 
and at the same time of necessitating a very high expendi- 
ture upon them. 5 And they dreAv up an extensive pro- 
gramme recommending various schemes for every pro- 
vince. The total cost they put at forty four crores, only 
onerthird on productive and the rest on intermediate and 
unproductive 6 works, and they anticipated that the works 
would take not less than twenty years to complete, and 
would, when completed, irrigate six million and a half 
acres. With regard to the Bombay Deccan in particular, 
they said that the abundant rainfall on the Ghats could be 
stored— at a price— in suitable sites and carried thence to 
the districts in. need of it. The Government accepted 
most of their recommendations, discovered in working 
along the lines they had indicated that the possibilities of 
irrigation works were greater even than those the Commis- 

\ India in 1919, p. 116. 

5 Report ch. 4 sees, i and ii. 

6 Productive— oertain to yield at least 5% within 10 years of 
ouiupletion; unproductive —certain not to do so; intermediate -worka 

about which neither statement could he made ($ 125). 


sion had in view, 7 and liavo been following a more active 
programme of construction during the last two decades. 
The completion of the Triple Canal system in the Punjab 
has been already noted. Protective irrigation works, 
on which the Commission laid "such stress have also 
advanced considerably. Of these the Nira Right Bank 
Canal which will irrigate two lakhs of acres when com- 
plete, and the Godavari and the Pravara schemes, sanc- 
tioned in 1906 might be specially mentioned. To take a 
more general view, in 1902-03 -there were only 350,000 
acres irrigated by protective works; and of these there 
were 49QOO acres in the U. P., 59000 in the Bombay 
Deccan, and 85000 in Madras. By 1918-19 the total for 
British India had doubled, the Deccan having gained 
63000 acres, Madras 23000, and the U. P. as 
many as 162000. Lastly, students of the subject 
should note that although a big canal flowing like 
a river through several districts and throwing out 
thousands of distributaries in a carefully designed net-work,, 
or a big lake in picturesque scenery giving out miniature 
rivers for miles carried across all obstacles, might strike 
the imagination, and although the capital sunk on these 
extensive works amounted to colossal figures, the small 
well and the petty tank of the cultivator also rendered 
a service by no means negligible. Just as the popula- 
tion inhabiting our small villages was in the aggregate 
hundreds of millions, because although each village was 
so small there were several lakhs of them, so also the 
total area irrigated by our wells and tanks, the work of 
the people, with only a little help in recent years from 
the state, was very large indeed, and for the same reason. 
The Irrigation Commission calculated in 1903 that in 
1&77-S the total irrigated area in British India was thirty 

7 In 1918-19 there were 15 major works under construction, 
7 awaiting sanction, 11 projects under investigation, nil together esti- 
mated to cost 60 crores India iu 1919, p. 314. 


three mil lion acres, out of which private works irrigated 
twenty two and a half millions while the state works irri- 
gated only ten and ;i half; ihe proportion of private to 
state irrigation was as 68 : 32. In 1902-3 the total in their 
opinion had increased to 44 millions, and out of that pri- 
vate works irrigated twentyfive millions and a half while 
the state works irrigated eighteen and a half million acres ; 
the proportion at that date was thus 58 : 42. At the end 
of 1918-19 the area irrigated by state works had grown to 
over twentyfive million acres. Even if we assume that 
the growth in the area irrigated by private works was at 
the same rate as in the former period, it must be put down 
at very nearly twenty-nine millions, or an area larger than 
the state irrigated area by over three million acres. 



§ 48 Stale needs. There is really no limit to the 
needs of the modern state. It wants from the people all 
they can spare for its purposes, and restrains itself with 
difficulty at the margin, — wide or narrow according to the 
habits and circumstances of the people — where political 
discontent and the increasing friction of collection advise a 
halt in no uncertain terms. Wars have become fewer, it 
is true, and shorter, but armies and navies have grown 
continuously and the advance of science, and the rising 
prosperity of the people with the rise in the standard of 
living necessarily resulting, have made them more and 
more costly. The devastation of war itself has become 
less frequent, but the burden of being prepared for the 
eventuality of war has grown, until in some cases at least, 
the inability to support it longer has precipitated war, as 


the ie^ss unbearable alternative. The nations at the apex 
of prosperity and progress have led the way, and all others 
have had to follow, more or less. 

As population grows, the cost of roads and communi- 
cations grows; the advance of science revolutionised 
transport during the nineteenth century, and the railways, 
ships, canals and ports of modern times have a capacity 
and efficiency undreamt of by former ages, but the cost 
too has grown to undreamt of heights, and, whatever the 
theory, the practice has grown of placing these indispensa- 
ble services more and more under state direction. As 
population grows, the cost of preserving health and main- 
taining and improving sanitary conditions grows, the 
proportion of orphans, failures, disabled persons, and aged 
persons, with none to support them, grows beyond the 
means of private charity, sporadic efforts break down, and 
the state has to undertake these duties on uniform nation- 
al lines. In economic activities, properly so called, the 
distinctive modern note is production on a large scale for 
which labour has to be concentrated in masses working 
through the instrumentality of machines growing in 
numbers and variety, each needing specialised skill to 
yield the net maximum of output; the raw material has to 
be obtained from the ends of the earth and often in enor- 
mous quantities; and the finished product lias to seek 
distant; markets, for the locality where it is turned out 
cannot possibly consume even a small fraction of it. All 
this implies elaborate organisation with delicate adjust- 
ments. The labourer has merely to obey orders as the 
mere soldier has to, in an army operating on a vast front, 
and here, too, whatever the theory, the logic of facts is in- 
exorable, and the practice grows of greater inspection 
control and support by the state on uniform national lines. 
The maintenance of internal peace and order also becomes 
costlier as population increases, and as crime learns to 
prostitute the various advances of modern knowledge and 
the wonderful facilities of modern society to its own ends, 


Sensibility to suffering, appreciation of cause and effect, 
and the feeling that the struggle for existence is getting 
very keen have also grown, and one of the joint products 
is an ideal of education more complex and exacting than 
had been possible in the past. How far this growing ideal 
can be reduced to practice remains to be seen, but the 
whole meaning of human existence is to work for the 
attainment of ideals, and, whatever the theory, again, in 
practice this sphere too is falling more and more into the 
hands of the state to direct, control, and improve. In one 
word, the modern state is more and more expected to be 
the educator of rising generations in order that they at 
least might have a progressively better world to live in 
than we and our forbears have had to suffer from : a world 
of less suffering and more knowledge, a world where in- 
sight is surer, and character less inadequate to the strains, 
the calls, the opportunities, the visions, and the dedications 
of life. The State, in fine, the modern man enthrones in 
his heart as Secular Providence, and the state bureau is 
the only temple to which he willingly brings offerings, full 
of hope. Is this all a delusion ? Who knows ? The ultimate 
truth of life and thought, philosophy and humanity, can 
never be seen free from doubts and mists and dark indefi- 
nable masses in the background ; those to whom the faith 
and the hope are given will walk by their light, while they 
possess the urge of youth, while those others, their bro- 
thers, to whom the light has been denied, will still follow 
at a distance, grousing and grumbling. 

§ 49 Expenditure*— i wars and war-services 
Sir J. Kaye complained in 1853: "It is a truth to be 
wept over by every friend of humanity that within the 
last fifteen years whilst some five million pounds have 
been spent on great national works, thirty millions have 
been spent in wars. " l The East India Company had 
incurred a public debt of over £ fifty millions when the 

1 p. 317. 



sceptre passed from its hands, and the Mutiny added to it 
over £ forty millions. But by 1858 British conquests in 
India had reached the natural frontiers of the country, 
and the only war on a large scale which India had to 
wage during the period from 1858 to 1914, was the 
Afghan war of the Disraeli Ministry (1878-80). This 
cost over £ twenty-two millions, out of which England 
paid five. Lord Dufferin's Burmese expedition (1885-6) 
and Lord Curzon's Tibetan expedition ( 1 903 ) were not 
much bigger than some of the various expeditions, 
campaigns and blockades which have had to be frequent- 
ly undertaken on the N. W. frontier between the Indus 
and Afghanistan proper. 2 There have been quite a 
number of these, in fact, there have been periods during 
which this No-Man's Land has been almost continuously 
disturbed for a number of years at a time, but the total 
cost has not been really heavy, especially when we 
consider the length of the period covered, and the train- 
ing in actual warfare afforded to our troops. 3 

Less easy to defend was the burden England impos- 
ed upon India upto about 1900, by employing our troops 
on Imperial objects outside India, and paying for them 
either not at all, or very inadequately. On more than 

2 The most important were — the Umbeyla or Black Mtn 
Campaign, 1862-3; the Bhutan War, 1865; the Gilgit Expedition (occupa- 
tion of Hunza and Nagar), 1891-2; the Re-occupation of the Kurram 
Valley, 1892; the Chitral Expedition, 1895; the Tirah Expedition, 1897; 
the Mahsud Blockade, 1901; the military and naval blockade of the 
Makran coast upto and inside the Persian Gulf for several years from 
1910 to suppress gun-running; the Abor Expedition, 1911-12. 

3 In how many of these cases was Government fully justified in a 
resort to arms? The Tibetan expedition has been almost universally 
condemned, and the last Burmese War will always appear to some 
minds to have been a case of Imperial land-grabbing. Even the. 
frontier expeditions have not escaped hostile criticism. These, however, 
are questions of high policy, and though very important in themselves, 
are to be kept apart, as far as possible, from questions of finance. So 
far as any of these wars was unjustifiable, the money spent upon it was of 
course wasted, and there was so much less available for better objects 


one occasion the Government of India protested vigor- 
ously, as had the Court of Directors before them, for the 
practice had originated before 1858; but it was easier for 
the British Ministry and parliament to impose their will 
upon the Secretary of State for India than upon the 
Board of Control ; or we may describe the position in 
another way by saying that the Government of India had 
a distinctly lower status and influence under the Act 
of 1858 than had their predecessors the East India Com- 
pany through their two organs, the Court of Directors and 
the Court of Proprietors. The Act had provided, we 
have seen, that whenever Indian troops were employed 
beyond the frontiers of India, the matter was to be 
brought to the notice of parliament at an early date, and 
that no such expenditure was to be imposed upon India 
without their consent. Even this express provision was 
disregarded on more than one occasion; so that the 
behavionr of the richest empire the world has known 
towards this poor dependency, was in these matters 
not only mean and unfair, but also illegal at times. 
This shabby page of British Imperialism began with the 
Abyssinian War of 1867, 5 and was not closed until the 
Boer War at the end of the century inaugurated a fairer 

4 E. g. The Perak Expedition ( 1875 ). As to this, Lord North- 
brook told the Welby Commission — "I protested. No Address was 
moved in the House, so that the law was broken." ( Dutt, Victorian 
Age, p. 563 ). Again, as to the Sudan, "the continued employment of 
the Indian troops at Suakin as a garrison was not covered by the 
Address" ( p. 564 ). 

5 The Governor General, Sir John Lawrence, wrote, November 
4, 1867: "Surely this is neither a question of hiring nor lending, but 
simply one of payment by the country which employs the troops... 
all the expenses of the British troops employed in the Mutiny who 
came from England, were paid out of the revenues of India. I recollect 
very well, that in 1859 and 1860, India was even charged for the cost 
of unreasonably large numbers of men who were accumulated in the 
depots in England, nominally for the Indian service.. ..In the present 
case, India has no interest whatever in the Abyssinian expedition, 
and. ..she should pay none of its cost." Bosworth Smith, Life, ch. 28 
(Nelson: p. 513). 


treatment of the subject from England. The change 
might be attributed not so much to the men in charge at 
the moment, Lord Curzon and Lord George Hamilton, 
as to the cumulative effect of the strong criticism 
repeatedly expressed on the matter, and especially by the 
official and unofficial witnesses before, the Select Com- 
mittee on Indian Finance 1871-4, and the Welby 
Commission on Indian Expenditure, 1895-1 900. 6 

Least defensible of all, as involving not only a large 
burden, imposed upon India as an additional annual tax, 
but also issues graver by far than the mere money cost of 
it, was the policy that deliberately saddled her with an 
army much larger than her actual needs, and constituted, 
moreover, so as to insure the permanent military supre- 
macy of the ruling power at an incalculable sacrifice to 
the people thus brought completely under subjection,, The 
aim was to maintain a force ready to take the field at a 
moment's notice, large enough to hold the frontier until 
reinforcements could arrive from England, and at the same 
time, another force large enough to hold the country down 
with ease. In order to obviate all possibility of another 
conflagration like the Mutiny, the proportion of British 
troops to Indian was fixed at 1:2; the equipment and 
training of the Indian troops were kept inferior ; the pro- 
portion of British officers was increased, the prospects of 
the Indian to rise in the army were kept lower even than 
in the days of the Company ; the British troops were to be 
short service men in the prime of life, and troopships 
ploughed the seas perpetually to bring up fresh relays of 
British youth to replace the older soldiers ; the Indian 
troops were kept longer in the ranks, and special care was 
taken to see that there did not accumulate in any part of 
the country large numbers of men trained in the army, 

6 For these see Dutt, Victorian Age, bk II ch 10 and bk III ch 11 
This is a good instance of a change in practice, without any change 
in law, brought about by juster notions gradually prevailing. 

Expenditure 26l 

discharged and discontented ; and, lastly, the recruiting of 
Indian soldiers was carried out on a system that can only 
be described as increasingly anti-Indian. The more the 
system is studied as a whole and in all its details, the more 
plainly does it reveal an utter distrust of the Indian, and 
at the same time a firm determination to employ all the 
means that the clearest and the shrewdest intellect could 
devise to hold him down for ever as a conquered subject. 
This army, this unique creation of British Imperialism, 
must certainly be pronounced a great achievement of pra- 
ctical statesmanship. It has throughout performed success- 
fully the functions for which it was designed, and has 
also been able to lend a hand, as we have seen, in the 
defence and the expansion of the Empire in Africa and 
Europe 7 as well as in Asia. The cost of it has been heavy, 
almost too heavy for the country to bear; and the moral 
cost, if the view here presented be at all sound, so far 
outweighs the material, that to say much about the latter 
would be almost a waste of time and space. Still, some 
indication of the money cost, however brief, can hardly be 
omitted from this section. The period under review 
began with an army of 186,000,62,000 British and 3 24,000 
Indian troops, costing Rs. sixteen crores a year. In 
1885-6 it was increased to 211,000, 71,000 British and 
140,000 Indian troops, and cost Rs. eighteen crores a year. 
In 1894-5 it was further increased by 9,000, 3,000 British 
and 6000 Indian troops, which meant another two 
crores per year. The pay of the British soldier and the 
charges to be paid for him to England have been increas- 
ed more than once. The pay of the Indian soldier was 
also increased from the 1st January 1899. And barracks, 
military works, and equipment have swallowed up large 
sums every decade. Perhaps the costliest period was the 

7 Disraeli had called up an Indian contingent to Malta, 1877. The 
services of the Indian army, British and Indiar, in the Great War 
in France, Belgium and Gallipoli are too recent and too we'l- known to 
need detailed reference. 


decade from 1899 to 1909, during which £ fifteen millions 
were spent upon these necessaries. The average net cost 
of the Military Services under all heads during the three 
years preceding the war was over nineteen and a half 
million pounds per year. 

II Famines. The loss to the people from famines 
is far greater, we have seen, than the indirect and direct 
loss to the state, and this latter again is far greater than 
the direct and indirect expenditure the state is obliged to 
undertake because of famines. In this section we can 
only deal very briefly and roughly with the last and the 
lowest of these three amounts, nor can we take account 
of more than one part of it, viz. the direct expenditure. 
It has been shown in an earlier section that the cost 
of direct famine relief to the state during the decade 
from 1868 to 1877 was Rs. fifteen crores, and so a 
Famine Insurance Fund was constituted from 1878 
amounting to Rs. one crore and a half per year. No 
such sum, however, could be provided on account of the 
Afghan War before 1881-82. During the decade 1873 
to 1882 the amount spent on Famine Relief and Insur- 
ance was a little over £ seventeen and a half millions ; 
from 1886 to 1890 only Rs. one crore and sixty eight 
x akhs altogether could be provided, but the larger provi- 
sion in the remaining years of the decade brought up the 
total to a little under £ six millions ; thus, adding to this 
amount the two million pounds actually provided in 
1881-2 and 1882-3, we have for the so called Famine 
Insurance Fund an actual expenditure of only £ eight 
millions during the first twelve years after the Fund 
was constituted, whereas the additional taxation imposed 
for the purpose was on the understanding that £ twelve 
millions would be allotted. And this concrete financial 
criticism is all the more damaging in that it accepts all 
the sums actually debited to this head as rightly debited, 
although objection could be reasonably taken against 


more than one of them. To resume our statement of the 
direct cost of famines. During the next decade (1893- 
1 902 ) the full crore and a half was provided only in the 
first year ; only three crores were allotted during the next 
three years. Then followed the great famine of 1896-7 
which cost Rs. seven crores and a quarter in direct 
relief ;and the greater famine of 1899-1900 which cost 
over Rs. ten crores in direct relief. During the decade 
1901 to 1911, not ten but eleven million pounds and 
three-quarters 8 had to be allotted to this head of expendi- 
ture, mainly because of the famine of 1907-08. 

Ill railways and irrigation As has been 
noted above, Sir John Lawrence started the policy 
of state construction of "productive" 9 works out of loans 
Before his time the expenditure on ordinary irrigation and 
public works out of revenue had risen from £ one third 
million in 1849 to over £ four millions in 1858. When it 
exceeded six millions in the year 1867-8, it was perceived 
that the treasury could not provide the amount out of or- 
dinary revenues, still less go on enhancing it, without an 
increase in the burdens of taxation that would be unbear- 
able, especially as the sum the government had to find 
annually to make up the guaranteed interest of 5 °/o to the 
railway companies, was also increasing year by year. 
11 Protective " public works-railways and canals-began to 
appear in the accounts from 1881 as a result of the recom- 
mendations of the Famine Commission of 1 880, and we 
have seen above how the Famine Insurance Fund was 

8 For the figures in this chapter, see the decennial issues of 
the Moral and Material Progress and Condition Reports the Imperial 
Gazetteer, and for figures later than 1911-1;?, the annual Financial 
Statement and Budget, all government publications; and from 1914, 
the handy Indian Year Book, already referred to more than once, 
published by the Times of India. 

9 Sir J. Lawrence called them ''extraordinary;" the epithet 
"productive" was substituted and the policy developed in some detail 
by a committee of parliament in 1879. 


created by additional taxation in order that such schemes 
could be pursued more or less steadily, and progres- 
sively realised. Throughout the period under review 
government have consistently borrowed as much money 
as they could in England and in India, and they 
have kept themselves well supplied on the whole with 
railway and irrigation schemes to spend it on. And it 
must be admitted that where vast sums and large under- 
takings spread over years are involved, the pursuit of a 
steady policy like this makes on the whole for economy 
to an incalculable extent. Railways,;we have noted, have 
been the favourite investment ; irrigation schemes obtain- 
ed very much less of the money available, for a whole 
generation. But we have alse seen that from the beginn- 
ing of the present century much larger sums have been 
allotted to irrigation, mainly because of the rude experi- 
ence of the famines of 1 897 and 1900 and the plain moral 
deduced from it by Sir Colin Scott-MoncriefFs Commission. 
The public debt has grown from about £ 92 millions in 1 861 
to 15 710 in 1882. But by the latter year £ 43 millions of 
capital had been sunk by the state in railways and 21 mil- 
lions, more in major irrigation works of a productive 
character; so that the burden of the debt was then no 
more than what it had been in 1861. During the twenty 
years from 1882 to 1902 the debt increased nominally to 
£ 211 millions ; but it had been really reduced to £ 72 mil- 
lions, as by that year:the capital spent by the state on 
railways and irrigation had reached the figure of £ 139 
millions. Finally by the end of 1913-14, the last year 
before the Great War, the debt had swelled nominally to 
£ 274 millions ; but again we have to enter on the other 
side of the account £ 45*5 millions spent by the state upto 
that date on irrigation works, and a railway property 
which, inclusive of the guaranteed railways purchased by 
the state, was worth at least £ 330 millionson that date. 

10 The rupee debt being converted at Rs. 10 or Rx. 1 = £ 1. In the 
figures for 1902 and 1913-14 it has been calculated at Rs. 15 = £l. 


rhua the Govcnmieut of India is as a property-owning 
corporation a wealthy party whose assets exceed the liabi- 
lities by over £ one hundred millions. And many English- 
men entertain the opinion, not only that this growing 
wealth has been created by British foresight, persistence, 
supervision, and control, but also that Indians do not pos- 
sess nor are they capable of acquiring the qualities 
necessary for the efficient management and steady 
improvement of this property, so valuable in itself and so 
beneficial to the entire population. On the other hand, 
Indians can acquire confidence in themselves and inspire 
it in others, only in proportion as they get the chance 
of managing and developing large concerns, involving 
millions of property and employing hundreds and even 
thousands of men in various capacities. 

§ 50 Expenditure: Ordinary Civil. IV Public 
Works of a non-military character and other than railways 
or irrigation works, were provided out of current revenues, 
and the expenditure varied according to the character of 
the year. They were taken out of the hands of the Mili- 
tary Board by Dalhousie in 1855, and separated from State 
Railways and Irrigation by Lawrence. New civil build- 
ings, repairs to communications, new communications, 
repairs to buildings, and establishments, are the principal 
sub-heads. Buidings range from the Secretariat at Dehli 
to a chozvki in a petty village. Roads are metalled or 
ordinary, with bridges throughout their length, or only at 
some places ; or they are banked and surfaced roads, or 
only banked, or only cleared, and drained only more or 
less partially. All these are regularly maintained. There 
were not forty thousand miles of metalled, nor one hun- 
dred and forty thousand miles of unmetalled, roads in 
British India by 1901-02 ; this record no one could regard 
as at all satisfactory for our vast country. The net ex- 
penditure incurred by the State varied; it was £2*7 mil- 
lions in 1902-03, £ 3-8 millions in 1882-3, £ 4-4 millions in 


1862-3, and £ 5-1 millions in 1911-12; the average for the 
three years just preceding the Great War was £ 5*4 millions, 

V (a, b) Civil Departments and Miscellaneous. 
The general heading Civil Departments comprised ten sub- 
heads: ( 3 ) General Administration, ( 2 ) Courts of Law. 
( 3 ) Jails, ( 4 ) Police, ( 5 ) Ports and Pilotage, ( 6 ) Educa- 
tion, ( 7 ) Ecclesiastical, ( 8 ) Medical, ( 9 ) Political; 
( 10 ) Scientific and Minor Departments. Let us consider 
briefly the more important of these, mainly from the point 
of view of finance. 

( 1 ) General Administration meant the upper Civil 
Administration from the Secretary of State and his Council 
down to the Commissioners of Divisions. Exceptional 
expenditure prompted from motives of high policy, such as 
on a Dehli Durbar, a Jubilee celebration, or a visit from a 
member of the Royal family, was also entered under this 
head. Apart from the occasional fluctuations thus arising, 
the cost under this head remained stationary for a long 
period ; for, as we have seen, there was no change of im- 
portance in the upper administrative organisation of British 
India from 1858 to 1893; there has been no extension of 
boundaries, either, except in the case of Burma. Curzon's 
partition and constitution of the N. W. F. P. province, 
Morley*s enlargement of the executives and legislatures, 
the visit of His Imperial Majesty, and the repartition of 
Bengal and the formation of Dehli as a separate province, 
were on the other hand all crowded together in one decade, 
and the expenditure under this head, £ 1*3 millions in 
1901-02, became £2*6 millions by 1911-12. Some econo- 
my had been effected since, and the average for the three 
years ending with 1913-14 was & 2 m 2 millions. The new 
Government of India Act with its enlarged executives and 
Jegislatures will of course involve another large increase, 
commencing with 1920-21; but for the first time in the 
history of British India a substantial, and let us hope an 


increasing, proportion of the total will come into Indian 
hands and circulate inside the country. 

(2,3) Law Courts, Law Officers, and Jails. This 
head need not detain us. The net cost has for many 
years been in the neighbourhood of half a million pounds 
for jails, and five times that amount for law and justice, 

(4) Police. The Police Department began in 1782, 
when Lord Cornwallis took away the police functions 
of the zamindars and enstrusted them to the District 
Magistrates. Several darogas were appointed for each 
district, each daroga had twenty to fifty armed men 
under him, and this civil force apprehended offenders and 
brought them up to the district magistrate for trial. In 
Madras and in Bombay, on the other hand, the indigenous 
system of the village patel and the village watchman was 
continued. The presidency towns were the first to 
obtain a special police force for the preservation of peace 
and the arrest of offenders, Calcutta leading the way in 
1829. For the mofussil Sir Charles Napier organised 
a semi-military force for police functions in Sindh, plac- 
ing it under officers directly subordinate to the district 
magistrates. This was almost the only success of his 
administration of the province. His system was copied 
in Bombay and the Punjab, after the Mutiny it was intro- 
duced into Agra, and Madras (1859), and the Police Act 
of 1861 made it uniform all over British India; and the 
special department for the suppression of Thugee (1830), 
to which the function of suppressing and extirpating 
Dakaity had also been assigned (1839), took its place 
inside the larger organisation. This special branch was 
not abolished until 1904, when under the recommenda- 
tions of the Police Commission of 1902-03, a new'branch 
was started instead, the Criminal Investigation Depart- 
ment, well-known by its shorter title, the C. I. D. Every 
province has an Inspector General of Police ; under him 
are Deputy Inspectors-General, one for each division or 


circle. The entire police force in a district is under the 
District Superintendent, who in the performance of his 
duties behaves as a subordinate of the District Magistrate. 
And each district is subdivided into several charges, each 
under an Assistant Superintendent. Upto this grade in 
the department all the officers are European British sub- 
jects, and the great majority, moreover, selected as the 
result of the annual competitive examination held for the 
purpose in England from 1894. Below this imperial 
service the Police Commission just mentioned created the 
provincial branch, the officers of the highest grade being 
called Deputy Superintendents, entrusted with practically 
the same functions as the Assistant Superintendents. 
Each of the talukas under the charge of an Assistant or 
Deputy-Superintendent is subdivided into circles, with an 
Inspector directly responsible for it. And the lowest 
unit of the organisation is the area entrusted to a Sub- 
Inspector, who is the lowest police officer. Under him 
are the rank and file of constables. The police force of 
the presidency towns is organised on similar lines, 
though some of the grades are styled differently. The 
Railway Police and the C. I. D. are branches organised on 
parallel lines. And some of the provinces-Burma, Assam, 
the Punjab, and N. W. F. P.— have military police in 
addition to the ordinary civil force. 

Apart from the village watchmen, the police force 
numbered under a lakh and a half upto 1880 and cost 
about Rs. two crores and twenty lakhs. In the eighties 
better training arrangements were made, the proportion 
of officers was raised, and the net cost by 1891 was Rs. 
three crores and forty lakhs. In 1901 the force numbered 
163,000 men under 517 European officers, and the cost 
was Rs. thirty lakhs more. Then came the Police Com- 
mission and the reforms recommended by it. The numbers 
rose by 1911 to one hundred and ninety thousand, under 
650 European and 234 Indian officers ( Deputy Superin- 
tendents), the pay was improved, and the net cost also 

expenditure: education 269 

increased by Rs. three crores. And during the triennium 
ending with the outbreak of the Great War, the average 
net cost was about Rs. six crores and ninety lakhs. 

(6) Education. The total expenditure on the pub- 
lic educational institutions in British India, which being 
Government institutions are wholly controlled by the 
Education Department, or being aided by Government 
are inspected and partially controlled by the same agency, 
is derived from Government funds (including the funds of 
municipalities and local boards), or from fees, or from 
subscriptions and endowments by private individuals, or 
from other miscellaneous sources. The growth in the 
expenditure upon education from public funds has been 
at a gradually increasing rate. From Rs. 91 lakhs in 
1873-4, it grew to one crore and eight lakhs in 1881-2, 
two crores and seventy-seven lakhs in 1901-2, and four 
crores and six lakhs in 1911-12. The total expenditure 
from all sources grew from four crores and two lakhs in 
1901-2 to seven crores and eighty-seven lakhs in the 
official year preceding the Great War, and has gone on 
increasing at an average rate of over thirty-two lakhs per 
year since ; the rate of growth in the contribution from 
public or government funds has been nearly Rs. twenty 
lakhs a year, and that of the burden borne by private 
funds (fees &c), has been a little over Rs. twelve lakhs a 
year. The distribution of the expenditure over the entire 
iield of education can be seen from the following table : — 

In lakhs of Rupees. 







University Ed. .. 

. 18 





Secondary Ed. 

. 48 





Primary Ed. 

. 76 





Special Ed. 






Direction and 


. 17 





Buildings &c. 



















.. 1,86 





For the figures for 1918-19 see Indian Education in 1918-19 
published by the Government of India. The total for 1901 in the table 
>s three lakhs less than tho figure mentioned a little earlier. But 
re are many discrepancies in the official publications themselves. 


It should be noted that Special Education comprises 
principally technical and industrial schools, graining 
schools, medical schools, schools of art, and commercial 
schools ; and that under Buildings &c. are included furni- 
ture and all varieties of scholastic apparatus, appliances, 
models, instruments &c., as well as buildings proper. A 
mutual comparison of these forty-five figures, vertically 
and horizontally, will of itself suggest many a reflection 
and criticism. The defects of the system both as a whole 
and in the mutual relations of its various parts lie almost 
on the surface. Some of them will be dealt with in a 
later chapter. Here, it would not be appropriate to the 
main subject to refer to more than two of them. In the 
first place, look at the unspeakably meagre provision for 
Special Education. A finance minister cannot draw more 
and more from the people for the state treasury unless the 
productive capacities of the people go on increasing ; 
and this end cannot be realised under modern 
conditions of international competition, without heavy 
and growing expenditure on a sufficient number of 
technical institutions of every variety. While it is 
true in a sense that all sound education is productive, 
all technical education worthy of the name is directly 
productive. Well-trained agriculturists, mechanics, arti- 
sans, chemists, engineers, ship-builders, and other skilled 
workers too numerous in their variety to detail, would be 
productive in a far higher sense than railways and irriga- 
tion canals, fisheries and mines, forests and plantations. 
These other material objects, indeed, are productive only 
in so far as there are the human agents armed with the 
necessary skill to make or work and develop them. And 
to arm an increasing number of the boys and girls as they 
grow up with the necessary skill is to establish and rapidly 
develop a well-conceived system of technical and voca- 
tional education all over the country, properly correlated 
to the key-industries, the main occupations, and the 
economic products and peculiarities of each linguistic 


area. How much of this can be done in our vast country 
with a beggarly eighty-four lakhs a year? 

Secondly, compare the expenditure on education as a 
whole with the expenditure upon the various other objects 
more or less briefly discussed in these sections. Could 
not more have been allotted to this, if necessary, even at 
the expense of one or more of the others? Cannot more, 
and a faster rate of progress, be provided now and in the 
immediate future ? And if it be really found impossible to 
do so out of current revenues, why should there not be a 
thorough examination of Sir M. Vishweshwaraya's sugges- 
tion of "a loan averaging about fifteen crores per annum 
during the next ten years for the development of educa- 
tion and industries"? 2 

(8) Medical. This is another head of expenditure 
which badly needs a large and an immediate increase. 
The death rate in India is high. 3 The death-rate of women 
within the child-bearing age-limits is higher. The rate of 
infant mortality is dreadful. Our bloated cities are areas 
where diseases rage like forest-fires. And yet our rural 
areas, scanty in resources because of the want of work, 
are pouring their life-streams into these stinking slums in 
increasing volume. Malaria takes off about a million peo- 
ple per year, and the numbers who recover only to lead 
lives lacking in vigour and hope cannot be counted. Now 
and then there is an epidemic of fevers, when more than 
two millions die of it in less than a year, as in 1 908. Such 
an epidemic is followed, moreover, by a year of a lower 
birth-rate. The influenza carried off six millions in 1917. 

2 Reconstructing India, p. 109; See also pp. 168-9, 260-269, &c. 

3 See the diagrams in India in 1919. It has been argued that the 
death-rate has been rising for some time — See, e. g. Ookhle, first Budget 
Speech, 26-3-1902, Appendix. There is expert authority accepted by the 
Census Commissioner, 1911, for the view that the vitality of the people 
is declining—See P. K. Wattal, Population Problem, ch. 3. In so far as 
these opinions are really well-founded, there is all the greater need for a 
rapid development of medical and sanitary provision. 


The .average mortality from plague since it broke out first 
in August 1896 works out at five lakhs a year, though the 
later portion of the period with its reduced numbers has 
reduced the average for the whole. Cholera, which can 
take a heavy toll only from cities pilgrimages and fairs, 
haR become less frequent with better water supply and 
improved conservancy and medical treatment, but still it 
killed seven lakhs in 1907 and nearly six lakhs in 1891, 
and the year is rare in which it kills less than two lakhs. 
Small-pox is about the only scourge whose ravages have 
fallen off during the British period. Vaccination was 
introduced early in the sixties of the last century. It had 
to contend against the ignorant prejudices and supersti- 
tions of the people. In 1864-5 only 556 persons were 
vaccinated in the whole of North India. From such mi- 
croscopic beginnings, however, the activities of the 
department have grown until they reached fair proportions* 
By 1880-1 the annual vaccinations were over four millions, 
and the next two decades doubled the number. 

Perhaps the first civil hospital in British India was 
opened at Madras in 1679; the Calcutta General Hospital 
was opened in 1795. The number of hospitals and dis- 
pensaries 4 has grown at a snail's pace, There were 1247 
in 1881, 1809 in 1891, 3,402 in 1901, and 4128 in 191 I. 
The population of British India was in 1911 over 244-45 
millions. Does that give one hospital to 59,168 people? 
By no means. Bombay is the only major province with a 
higher urban population than ITS % and even in Bombay 
over four-fifths of the people are rural. At the other ex- 
treme stands Bihar and Orissa, backward and mediaeval 

4 These hospitals and dispensaries are grouped into six classes 
State Public institutions, State Special, Police, Forest and Surveys, 
Canals, and others, further subdivided into private Aided, private 
Unaided, and Railway institutions). Out of the total, more than half 
are maintained wholly or partly from municipal and local boards funds. 
There were in all 83 hospitals and dispensaries in Calcutta, Madras and 
Bombay at the beginning of the century. 


with a vengeance, if you associate progress and modernity 
principally with towns; for this province has only 3-7 % 
living in towns out of its population of thirty-four millions 
and a half; and, of course, very few of our four thousand 
hospitals are in villages. 

It may be remembered that the East India Company 
thought of a proper system of laws and law-courts only 
when parliament threw India open to Englishmen. It is 
equally curious to discover that improvements in the 
general sanitation of the country were seriously thought 
of only when the Army Sanitary Commission, 1863, point- 
ed out that the army itself could not possibly be expected 
to keep better health without them. Sanitary Boards and 
Commissioners were appointed. But what could these 
foreigners utterly ignorant of the language ways and 
medical and hygienic conceptions of the people, obsessed 
moreover with the fads and fanaticisms of new science, 
achieve ? It is all very well to call the Indian village 
a dung-heap with stagnant water befouled by men and 
cattle, in which men and cattle bathe, and out of which 
they drink together. It is all very well to call the Indian 
villager ignorant superstitious and conservative. It is 
not for the reformer to twitch his nostrils and turn away. 
Such as it is, that is the world he has to work in work for 
and better, as far as possible. And if he only brings 
sympathy and understanding to his labour of love, he will 
find it, with all its faults, very human and plastic. Real 
progress dates only from the extension of local self- 
government by Lord Ripon ; but it is substantial as yet 
only in municipal areas, though as their population goes 
on increasing, the old solutions and arrangements cease 
to answer, or the welcome reform of one generation 
comes to be regarded as a legacy of evil by the next. 
Municipal and district board activities and institutions for 
health and sanitation, we shall, however, have occasion to 
deal with in the following chapter. Sanitary Engineers 

have been appointed from 1888, and sanitary works in 


town and rural areas, sanctioned by the Sanitary Board 
and wholly or partially financed by government, are carri- 
ed out and maintained under their supervision. Thorough- 
going changes in the organisation were introduced under 
the recommendations of the Indian Plague Commission of 
1898. The Indian Pasteur Institute at Kasauli started 
work from 1 900, and similar institutions have been opened 
in other parts of the country. The Plague Research 
Commission, 1 905-07, proved that the infection did not 
travel directly from man to man, and that the problem of 
fighting and eradicating plague was the problem of fighting 
and eradicating the rat-flea ; and important changes in the 
methods of dealing with the epidemic and the areas 
where it prevailed followed, many useless troublesome 
and unpopular measures being discarded. The Imperial 
Malaria Conference, 1909, has led to the formation of 
Central and Provincial Committees and the establishment 
of a Central Malaria Bureau at Kasauli for research and 
the training of officers. And this has been followed up 
by the appointment in the provinces of touring malaria 
experts with adequate staffs and equipment to investigate 
the conditions in specially affected areas, and advise as to 
the proper remedies. Thus, Dr. Bentley's report about 
Bombay City in 1911, for instance, has led to the filling up 
of wells and tanks, the laborious structures of an age when 
the water-works had not yet come into existence. A sci- 
entific study of tropical diseases began in India with the 
Parel Central Research Institute ( 1901 ), which was mov- 
ed to Kasauli in 1 904* The Bombay institution confined 
itself thereafter to the preparation of anti-plague vaccine. 
These and similar activities have been financed by Impe- 
rial grants from 1908-09 onwards, amounting to over a 
million pounds in the first five years, 5 a portion non- 
recurring for capital expenditure or exceptional use, but 

5 By the end of 1918-19 the Imperial grants to Medical and Sanita- 
tion amounted to Rs. thirty crores. 


the balance promised to continue for several years. And 
from 1910 when Sir Sankaran Nair became the member of 
the Imperial Executive Council for sanitation as well as 
education, an active policy has been inaugurated for the 
sanitary and hygienic improvement of towns and villages. 
Every town with a population of 100,000 or more is to 
have a whole time Health Officer, every municipality is to 
have a Sanitary Inspector, post-graduate studies in the 
necessary subjects are to be encouraged, there will be 
travelling inspectors for rural areas, and the entire service 
is to be open to Indians with the necessary qualifications. 
The expenditure from government funds, central provincial 
and local, was Rs. seventy lakhs in 1882-3, eighty-eight 
lakhs in 1891-2, over a crore in 1901-2 ; for the triennium 
ending with 1913-4, it averaged Rs. one crore and forty 
lakhs. The single head has since been split up into two- 
( a ) Medical, ( b ) Sanitation ; the gross expenditure on ( a ) 
from 1914-3 5 to 1918-19 has averaged & nine and a half 
lakhs, and that on ( b ), £ six lakhs nearly ; thus giving a 
total for both of Rs. two crores and thirty-two lakhs. 
From one crore in 1901-2 to two crores and a third in 
less than twenty years is by no means a rate of progress 
to satisfy those who at all realise the life and death impor- 
tance of medical aid and sanitary improvements in our 
vast rural land, teeming with ' a population weakened by 
disease and poverty, and disheartened by ignorance 
and oppression. 

(9) Political. Under this head is entered the expendi- 
ture of the political and foreign department of the Gov- 
ernment of India upon Residents, Agents, and their 
establishments in Native States, political subsidies, such 
as was paid to Amir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan, 
the maintenance of refugees, State pensioners, and State 
prisoners , and similar objects. Occasionally a Boundary 
Commission, a special Mission, or a Negotiation swells the 

6 And, after anarchism appeared in India ; political detinues. 


total. The amount exceeded £ one million for the first 
time in 1906-7, was in the neighbourhood of that figure 
from 1911-12 to 1916-17, but was over £ two millions 
for the next two years, owing to India's contribution to 
the expenditure upon the South Persia Rifles and similar 
items due to the Great War. On the other hand, the 
income from the tributes and contributions received from 
Native States has generally amounted to £ six lakhs it 
year, and this sum might be fairly treated as a partial set-off. 

(10) Scientific and Minor Departments, This head 
covers the Department of Agriculture, the Civil Veterinary 
Department ; various Survey departments-geological, 
magnetic, meteorological, linguistic, archaeological, ethno- 
graphical ; several central institutions-the Central Museum, 
the Central Research and X-ray Institutes, the Imperial 
Library, the Bureau of Commercial Intelligence; and other 
miscellaneous activities such as the census, the supervision 
of emigration, the inspection of mines, explosives, and 
factories, etc. The expenditure as late as 1891-2 was less 
than Rs. six lakhs a year. But the Agriculture Depart- 
ment started in"1881 got an impetus during LordCurzon's 
regime, agricultural colleges and researches have grown 
apace with excellent results, improved seed, improved 
methods and scientific processes of protecting the crop 
from pests etc. have been produced and are being popu- 
larised by demonstrations and propaganda, the various 
highly intricate problems connected with Indian agricul- 
ture are being envisaged more concretely, continuously 
and earnestly by a larger number of minds better equip- 
ped than ever before in Indian history, and as we have 
seen in an earlier chapter, the department is already urging 
government and people to advance scientifically towards 
the rapid attainment of results of incalculable beneficence. 
Some of the other departments and activities enumerated 
above are of still later origin, and while several of them 
are necessarily on a limited scale, some are developing at 


a vigorous rate. The total gross . expenditure has natur- 
ally grown fast ; it was nearly £5 lakhs by 1901-2, nearly 
£ one million by 1911-2, and with the single exception 
of the year 1915-16, has continued. growing year by year; 
it was a little over A one million and a half in 1918-9, and 
the Agriculture Department has nearly always had more 
than half the outlay. 

Europeans often express dissatisfaction at what they 
consider the very inadequate appreciation for services 
like the above, by educated Indians. But there is more 
in the matter than meets the superficial eye. In the first 
place Government reports are not easily accessible and 
official accounts are as a rule unreadable. Secondly, 
Indian education has been far too literary and abstract in 
character. Thirdly, a good many years necessarily pass 
in what might be called prospecting and pioneering work; 
while on the one hand, a conscientious government does 
not increase expenditure and establishments except in 
directions offering reasonable prospects of substantial 
results, on the other hand, meagre allotments and small 
establishments can rarely produce results, and, to the 
lay mind not accustomed to look before and after with 
the hopeful vision and enthusiasm of the expert, are like- 
ly to appear a mere waste. Besides, until they do 
achieve results, a consummation that might not be attain- 
ed for decades, these experts and their official mouth- 
pieces rail at the backwardness of the country, the ignor- 
ance superstition and conservatism of the people, and 
the depressing apathy of the surroundings, in every 
variety of tone and gesture. Under these circumstances, 
it is hardly a matter for surprise that educated India 
should emphasize a single aspect common to all such 
activities and departments, as to which it finds the 
government attitude indifferent to the point of criminality. 
Educated India is not at all against the importation of 
real and indispensable experts or of keeping them as long 


as they are really indispensable. But the foreign expert 
gives less than twenty years of active service and that too 
in broken periods. He takes away all his experience, 
training, faculty, and reputation with him to benefit other 
lands, while he is still in the prime of life. There is also 
the possibility of his not giving the benefit of all the 
secrets and processes he has discovered or perfected while 
here, to the land to which he feels little attachment in 
spite of all it does for him, since it is not in human nature 
to feel much attachment for a land where he and his 
children cannot settle down. Under such conditions, the 
average individual responds only to the cash nexus and 
behaves accordingly. Hence it is that from the days of 
V. N. Mandlik and M. G. Ranade, Indian patriots have felt 
that Indian resources had much rather not be developed 
at all than developed only at the hand of foreign experts, 
to give rise only to an increasing exploitation of the coun- 
try by the foreigner. Any strengthening of the jute in- 
dustry or the tea plantations, for instance, while they 
continue, as from the beginning to the present day, mono- 
polies in the hands of foreigners who, moreover, resist 
Indian aspirations with all their might, and have proved 
themselves incapable of any real sympathy for Indian 
labourers and subordinates, Indian opinion does not look 
upon as pure gain. There can be no real industrial 
development or economic advance until the new indus- 
tries or occupations are from the top to the bottom in 
Indian hands, so that the skill, processes and organisation 
involved are all likewise in competent Indian hands. 
Experts might be brought now and then, here and there, 
and assigned certain tasks, as in Japan or any other country ; 
but they should be servants employed only for a period, 
during which the training up of the Indian or Indians 
associated with them should be an integral part of their 
duties. There is no industrial advance worthy of the 
name, which is not a complete transplantation and success- 


ful culture of foreign skill into our own country. 7 A mere 
increase in the mileage of railways or in the bulk and the 
value of the production is one thing, a real progressive 
advance is quite another. Hence it is, and not at all 
because of such unworthy feelings as jealousy or colour- 
prejudice, that exponents of the Indian view have become 
more and more insistent on the subject of the race and 
domicile of the agency employed. In the dissenting 
Minute already referred to in an earlier section, Sir Abdur 
Rahim wrote : 

"The proper standpoint, which alone in my opinion furnishes a 
satisfactory basis to work upon, is that the importation of officials from 
Europe should be limited to cases of clear necessity ( para. 5o ). In the 
second group ( of the services ) should be placed appointments in which 
the administrative aspect of the work ( to be done) is more or less sub- 
sidiary, and for which differentiated and specialised qualifications of a 
professional, scientific or technical character are required. As such 
qualifications are capable of being sufficiently definitely ascertained 
there is no good reason why in this class of appointments Indian can- 
didates when properly qualified should not be appointed to the fullest 
extent available in Tndia. I would place in this group all. ..judicial 
appointments, and appointments in the education, agriculture, civil 
veterinary, forest, geological survey, factory and boiler inspection, 
mines, mint and assay, pilots (Bengal), public works and railways. 
Indian finance, military finance, medical, telegraph (engineering), and 
the Survey of India departments" ( para. 54 ). 8 

V ( b ) Miscellaneous covers the heads of territorial 
and political Pensions, civil, furlough, absentee, and super- 
annuation Allowances, Exchange, Stationery and printing, 
special Commissions of Inquiry, etc. It is not necessary to 
give any details about these heads in an elementary book 
like this. But connected with the subject of Exchange and 
indeed with the whole topic of Expenditure is the much- 
debated matter of the Home Charges. The expenditure 
of our government is necessarily incurred partly here, and 

7 Readers ignorant of economics might think that the above pro- 
position goes too far. They will find ample justification for it in List, 
National System of Economics and similar works. 

8 Islington Comm. Rep. 1 pp. 411,413. 


partly in England. This must continue to be the case, to 
some extent at least, as long as India is within the British 
Empire. We have borrowed a large portion of our public 
debt from England ; and the interest has of course to be 
paid every year. This must continue to be the case as 
long as England is for us, as it has been all along, the 
cheapest market to borrow from. A conflict of interest 
between England and India arises with regard to the re- 
maining items. The larger the number of foreigners 
employed in India in civil or military capacities, perma- 
nently or for short periods, the larger the charge for pen- 
sions, leave and furlough allowances, etc.; items which are 
really a part of the pay due to them under their contracts 
with us. From Dadabhai Naoroji onwards, the Indian 
contention has been that it should be a cardinal principle 
of the policy of the government, to employ the fewest 
possible foreigners, and keep these charges as low as 
possible. The reply to this has been that this was not 
merely a question of the money cost ; the British were 
bound to give to India a Western, modern, progressive, 
efficient, British administration, this was the inner mean- 
ing of the phrase "the British Connection", which could 
only be maintained and developed thus, and the indirect 
benefits to India were far greater than the cost. And the 
rejoinder has been — it was perfectly true that this was 
not merely a question of the money-cost, for the losses to 
India, direct and indirect, are far greater than the cost. 
The money if spent upon Indians would circulate and 
fructify within the country. The experience and the re- 
putation, if won by Indians, would remain available even 
after they retired from service, and would elevate India 
in the estimation of the world. And as G. K. Gokhle 
observed in 1905.: — 9 

"This question is to us something more than a mere question of 
careers. When all positions of power and of official trust and reponsibi- 
Hty are the virtual monopoly of a class, those who are outside thai 

9 Budget Speech, Impl. Leg. Council, 29th March. 


class are constantly weighted down with a tense of their own inferior 
position; and,.the tallest of them have no option but to bend, in order 
that the exigencies of the situation may be satisfied. Such a state of 
things, as a temporary arrangement, may be accepted as inevitable. 
As a permanent arrangement it is impossible. This question is thus 
to us a question of national prestige and self-respect, and we feel that 
our future growth is bound up with a proper solution of it." 

How far the new constitution put into force, 1920-21, 
and the new era commencing, will alter the case, and how 
fast, the future will show. 

Again, in connection with our international trade 
the shipping, the banking, and the agency without which 
it could not go on, were for a long period exclusively 
British; and when other nations like Germany, Japan 
and America obtained a share, all these other foreigners 
together accounted for only a small though a slowly in- 
creasing share of it. Even in their case the payments 
were to a large extent made through England, and all 
these items have gone to swell the Home Charges as the 
volume of the international trade has increased. The 
government attitude on this section of this subject has 
throughout been— "What can we do ? It is the course 
of the trade : it is the natural course of things." Or, 
"We are convinced free traders : it is really for the 
best; and to act otherwise is against our principles." 
Here, again, the Indian view has been that a national 
government would necessarily have behaved very differ-; 
ently; Indian shipping, banking, and agency business 
would have been helped by it to make a start and to grow 
up until each was strong enough to compete unaided, and 
thus there would have been not only a progressive reduc- 
tion of this item in the Home Charges, but a real indus- 
trial and economic advance. 

Another amount in the Home Charges is due to the 
purchase of military, railway, and government stores in 
England. Government is necessarily such a large buyer, 
that in the case of some articles it could easily :have built 



up its own factories and produced for itself what it need- 
ed. 10 In that case, the price paid would have remained 
in India, Indian labour would have been benefited from 
the first, and the indirect gain would have been all the 
greater if the factories as they developed had been 
Indianised, and thus had raised up one industry after 
another in the country. Instead, our government simply 
bought all it needed from England for a long period. As 
a rule, much more of Indian money was annually spent in 
England than the English capital annually borrowed on 
Indian account. The production of some of the military 
requirements in India itself in government factories, and 
the purchase locally of a few other articles, have been 
changes in the practice, introduced from the eighties of 
the last century. How far we shall go in this direc- 
tion and how fast in the era now dawning, the future 
will show. 11 

Lastly, Exchange; from about 1870 to 1898 our trea- 
sury lost a great deal on the exchange of rupees into 
sovereigns, for any coin outside the boundaries of the state 
who has adopted it as legal tender, is worth only the pre- 
cious metal contained in it, payments in any country have 
to be made in the legal tender of that country, the legal 
tender of England is the sovereign which is a gold coin, 
while the rupee is a silver coin, and as the gold-value of 
silver fluctuated largely with a downward tendency and 
actually fell considerably 12 during the period indicated, 

10 The Mogul Government was a large producer. See J. Sarkar 
M. Administration, pp. 13-15. 

11 See, for Home Charges, Morison : Economic Transition in India, 
chs 8 and 9. 

12 Rates of exchange -Re l=la ll-126d in 1871, la 7 961d in 187P, 
Is 4-898d in 1887, Is l.ld in 1894, Is 3'978d in 1898; thereafter Is 4d. At 
Is 6«5d, Is 5*ld, Is 4d, and Is 3d, £ l = Rs 13, 14, 15, and 16 respectively. 
The cost to India of Home Charges totalling £ 20 millions, for instance, 
would be Rs. 20 millions more at each of the latter, than at the immedi- 
ately preceding, rates. 


more and more rupees hud to be paid out of our treasury to 
make up the same number of sovereigns for our payments 
in England. In 1893, the government, after prolonged 
consideration and with much hesitation, fixed the rupee 
at one-fifteenth of a £ (Is. 4d.), and ceased to coin fresh 
rupees for a time. By 1898 the rupee rose to this gold 
value and it remained at that level to the beginning of the 
Great War. During this later period, therefore, there 
was no loss to the treasury from exchange and, on the 
other hand, there was a considerable gain through the 
coining of fresh rupees in enormous quantities from silver 
purchased at market-rates. 

§ 51 Income, A State derives an income from its 
properties and from trade and other activities, just like a 
private individual. It also takes by law, 1 at stated inter- 
vals, a definite part out of the property or the annual 
income of various classes of its citizens : this is its income 
from taxation, which it derives by virtue of its right and 
power as a sovereign to coerce its subjects; and in modern 
states the income so derived forms by far the greater por- 
tion of the whole. We therefore begin with a brief account 
and discussion of the principal heads of the Taxation 
Income of our government from 1858 upto date. 

The most important of these is/. — I Land Revenue 
This is a tax on agricultural incomes ; levied in India from 
times immemorial, being the most natural of taxes in a 
country predominantly agricultural. The Permanent 
Settlement with the zamindars was a tax on their rents or 
agricultural incomes, which, in 1793 when first fixed was, 
we have seen, as high as ten-elevenths of these incomes, 
but has fallen in process of time to one-fourth or less, 
The land-revenue realised from U. P., C. P., and the 
Punjab is also a tax on rents the proceeds of which have 
increased with the progressive growth of rental incomes 

1 By explicit law in modern constitutional states ; by custom 
or by executive order in others. 


in those provinces, as the settlements there were subject 
to enhancement ut each revision ; but a rogressively 
larger fraction of the income has remained with the land- 
owning shareholders, a decreasing fraction has been taken 
into the treasury ; the fall has been from over eighty to 
under fifty per cent. The land revenue in the ryotwari. 
provinces is a tax upon agricultural incomes collected 
from the cultivators themselves. The fact that in these 
parts of British India there are few non-cultivating laud- 
owners leasing out their fields to tenants for rents, cannot 
alter the character of the land revenue they pay, from the 
point of view of public finance. It might be conceded 
that pure economic rent does not raise the price of agri- 
cultural produce. ; and that therefore land-revenue not 
exceeding such rent in amount yields an income to the 
state without pressiug either on the ryot himself (when he 
does succeed in winning from the land a profit over and 
above wages and costs ), or on any one else. This argu- 
ment, however, means that in a poor agricultural society 
mainly composed of peasant proprietors, land-revenue is 
almost an ideal tax, or that it is almost the only tax possi- 
ble ; not that it is not a tax at all. Finally, a school of 
economists or socialists preferring a society without land- 
lords, whom they look upon as the worst possible kind of 
monopolists, have urged a social policy of eliminating 
them by the fiscal expedient of taxing the entire rent or 
surplus profit or unearned increment from the land. Such 
a policy may be desirable in some countries at some 
periods of their history ; let us even grant, for the moment, 
that it may be universally desirable. The expedient 
proposed may also, for the sake of argument, be granted 
to be both legitimate and effective, Considerations like 
these, however, have nothing whatever to do with the 
fiscal character of land-revenue. In the science of public 
finance, whatever the state takes as a state, by virtue of 
its authority over its subjects, that, but for the action of the 
state, would have remained with the subjects, is a tax and 

rNCOMi 285 

can be nothing else. " gross income to the State 

under this head apart from the income credited to Irriga- 
tion, has grown slowly from a little over £ 13*25 millions 
in the quinquennium 1861-5, to nearly £ 14*75 millions 
in 1881-5, a little over £ 18-75 millions in 1901-5, and a 
little over t! 21.25 millions in 1911-15. We have seen 
that under the expenditure head of General Administra- 
tion is entered the expenditure upon civil officers from 
the Secretary of State for India down to Commissioners of 
Divisions. The expenditure upon officers of lower 
grades employed upon District Administration, Survey 
and Settlement, Land Records, and all other work directly 
connected with the collection of land-revenue, from the 
Collector and District Magistrate down to the lowest 
employee, is entered against this revenue head; in the 
quinquennium 1911-15 this amounted to almost £ 3-9 
millions per year. This amount will show some increase 
in the current quinquennium because of the increase in 
salary recently granted to the upper ranks, European and 
Indian. Substantial increases in the salary of the lower 
ranks are even more necessary ; in fact they have been 
long over-due : a rupee in the hands of the talati (^fr) 
or kulkarni (f osw) has no more purchasing power than 
the same coin has in the hands of the mamlatdar or the 
Assistant Collector. 

II Taxes on non-agricultural incomes. 
Cesses on agricultural incomes over and above the land- 
revenue will be more appropriately dealt with, very 
briefly, in the next chapter. We pass on to the Income 
Tax properly so called, and other taxes similar to it. 

2 See Baden-Powell, p. 49: "land-revenue operates as a tax, the 
discission a profitless war of words." Strachey ch 9 presents the 
official view that land revenue is "not taxation properly so called," 
supported by wobbling quotations from Mill and Fawcett. Alston ch 2 
§ 19 indicates very briefly the historical genesis of the view of European 


There was a deficit of & 30 millions for the years 
1857-9, an anticipated deficit of over £'6 millions for 
1860-1, while the annual revenues did not amount to t 37 
millions, and the public debt had also risen because of the 
Mutiny. A trained financier and economist with a reputa- 
tion to lose was for the first time appointed to the govern- 
or-general's council as member for finance, he and Lord 
Canning cut down expenditure as far as possible in all 
departments, and a proper system of keeping accounts and 
auditing them was created. His principal changes in 
taxation were two : a reform of the customs duties, which 
is dealt with in a later section of this chapter, and the 
introduction of an Income Tax for five years. This was 
fixed originally at four per cent on incomes above £ 20. 
But the minimum was raised to & 50 in 1 862 and the rate 
was reduced to three per cent from 1863. Abolished in 
1866, it was revived from 1869 to 1872. The taxable mi- 
nimum income was raised to 75/ in 1871 and 100/ in 1872 ; 
the rate was 2\ °/o in 1869, 3£°/ ( 6 pies in the rupee ) in 
1870, and 2 pies in the rupee in the last two years. Sir 
Richard Temple 3 calculated that from 1860 to 1872 it had 
brought & 14* 5 millions to the treasury. In 1867 and 1868 
a substitute for the income tax was attempted in the form 
of a license or certificate tax on trades, handicrafts and 
professions ; and after the famine of 1 877, a license tax was 
re-imposed with considerable latitude to the provinces to 
fix their own gradations and rates. These efforts to adapt 
the income tax to Indian conditions were, however, 
failures, and a regular income tax of the modern type was 
imposed by Act II of 1886. The principal reason for the 
step was the large permanent increase in our military bur- 
dens. The governor general also adverted to the inequi- 
table character of the existing fiscal system, since well-to- 
do classes like the commercial and legal professions and 
the higher government officials from himself downwards 

3 Men and Events. See ch. 9, 10, and 15 for a bright account of 
the finances of British India upto 1873-4. 


were contributing little, if anything at all, to the treasury*. 
Under the Act, all agricultural incomes, military officers 
drawing less than Rs. 6000 per year, and civil incomes 
below Rs. 500 were exempted. The last minimum was 
raised to Rs. 1000 in 1903, and Rs. 2000 in 1919. The 
rate was, roughly, four pies in the rupee upto incomes of 
Rs. 2000, and five pies for higher ones. The amending 
Act ( V ) of 1916 introduced graduation by fixing the rates 
at five pies in the rupee for incomes from Rs. 2000 to 
Rs. 5000, six pies for higher incomes upto Rs. 10,000, nine 
pies upto Rs. 25,000, and one anna in the rupee for incomes 
of Rs. 25,000 and higher. Companies' profits were to pay the 
highest rate. The super-tax Act ( VIII ) of 1 9 1 7 related 
to incomes above Rs. 50,000 per year and imposed an 
additional tax on the excess, at rates advancing from one 
anna in the rupee to three annas, by half an anna for 
every fifty thousand rupees. And by the amending Act 
( XIII ) of 1920, the super-tax on Companies' profits ex- 
ceeding Rs. 50,000 was limited to one anna in the rupee, 
and in the case of undivided Hindu families, was to be charg- 
ed on incomes in excess of Rs. 75,000. The yield has risen 
from Rs. one crore and one-third in 1886-7 to Rs. one 
crore and two-thirds in 1892-3, Rs. two crores in 1900-01, 
and Rs. two crores and a third in 1908-09. For the first 
seventeen years from 1886 the increase was less than 
Rs. five lakhs annually; from 1903 to 1913-14 it was 
Rs. eleven lakhs annually 5 . But it is an ill wind indeed 
that blows no good at all to any one. The Great War 
brought exceptional profits to various trades and occupa- 
tions and the Income Tax receipts rose from Rs. 314 lakhs 
in 1915-16 to Rs. 566 lakhs in 1916-17, Rs. 725 lakhs in 
1917-18 and Rs. 845 lakhs in 1918-19 : and the Super Tax 
besides yielded Rs. 222 and 319 lakhs respectively in the 
]ast two years. 

4 Proceedings of the G. G's legislative council, 1886-7, p. 19. V. N, 
Mrtndlik was a member and suggested a revival of the import duties on 
cotton goods instead. 

5 S. M. Pagar, Inrhdln Income Tax, p. 185, 


§ $2 Commodity Taxes. There are Municipal taxes 
on houses and lands, animals and vehicles, which are 
taxes on property ; and on trades and professions, which 
are taxes on income. These will come up for considera- 
tion in the next chapter. We pass on to taxes on com- 
modities. These might be levied from the retail vendor; 
or at the boundaries as the commodity leaves our country 
or enters it. Excise is the general name for the first, 
Customs for the second. Under both heads there are some 
commodities which are taxed because it is desirable that 
people should be prevented from consuming them in large 
quantities, and an easy method of doing so is to raise 
their local price artificially by taxing them. Intoxicants 
like alcohol, opium and hemp, for instance 3 are very in- 
jurious to body, mind and character and destructive of 
domestic and social happiness. At the same time, their 
use as medicines in infinitesimal quantities in suitable 
forms and under medical advice is unavoidable in the 
treatment of diseases and general;debility and in the alle- 
viation of unbearable excitement, fatigue, or pain. And 
human nature is so weak that man gets habituated to the 
use of such dangerous drugs very quickly, and then wants 
to go on increasing their consumption by more frequent 
and larger doses, regardless of consequences. Hence it 
is a recognised portion of the general moral and regula- 
tive functions of Government to control the production 
and trade of such articles, and since that involves expen- 
diture, to recover it by taxing these articles themselves; 
So far there is hardly room for any difference of opinion 
on the subject. But modern European States have obtain- 
ed by their taxation of these commodities a large net 
income besides. The burden of the state, it has been 
argued, has got to be distributed as equitably as possible 
over all classes of subjects including the poorest, taxation 
on commodities or indirect taxation is felt less than taxa* 
tion of incomes and properties or direct taxation, where 
the masses consume such commodities in large quanti- 


ties, such taxation both operates as a check ou consump- 
tion and yields a large revenue, the state by employing 
this single expedient thus secures two objects both excel- 
lent, and if such taxation is to be given up and the state 
expenditure to remain on the same level, the only alter- 
native would be to tax incomes or properties or necessa- 
ries or harmless luxuries at higher rates. The opposite 
view, on the other hand, has been that if the state be 
really in earnest about its moral and regulative functions, 
the only right policy for it is to try to wean away its 
subjects from such vicious habits completely and at the 
earliest possible moment; and that even fiscally, a popula- 
tion freed from such debasing indulgences would produce 
far more wealth and could spare far more out of it for 
collective purposes than while addicted to them. It is 
not at all surprising that the Government in British India 
should so far have been guided by the sentiment of the 
English people and the practice of the English State in 
this matter ; but as it becomes more and more Indian in 
character it will naturally respond more and more to 
Hindu and Muhammadan sentiment. 

Ill Excise. Under this head is included the reve- 
nue derived from license and distillery fees and duties 
on sales, rents from contractors, owners, of toddy palms, 
ccc., acreage rates in the Punjab from the cultivators of 
poppy, and fines, confiscations and othef miscellaneous 
items. The principle of " a reasonable amount of deference 
to local public sentiment" has been attended to from 
1874 "but the application was left to the discretion of 
the load authorities" 6 for many years. After the 
report of the Indian Excise Committee, 1905-06, the 
legislation and administrative practices on the subject 

6 Moral and Mat. Rep., 1891-2, p. 250. For an earlier statement 
of the government attitude and policy see the quotation in Strachey at 
pp. 184-5. From 1884 to 1904 the consumption of country liquor declin- 
ed from 4-95 London proof gallons per 100 of the population to 406p 
while the taxation rose from Rs. 2-10-7 per gallon to Rs, 4*7-8, 


were over-hauled, and the attitude and policy of our 
Government since then with regard to the consumption 
of alcoholic drinks appear from the following para- 
graph :— 

"The Government of India have no desire to interfere with the 
habits of those who use alcohol in moderation; this is regarded by them 
as outside the duty of the Government, and it is necessary in their 
opinion to make due provision for the needs of such persons. Their 
settled policy, however, is to minimise temptation to those who do not 
drink, and to discourage excess among those who do; and to the further- 
ance of this policy all considerations of revenue must be absolutely sub- 
ordinated. The most effective method. to make the tax as high as it 
is possible to raise it without stimulating illicit production.. .,and with- 
out driving people to substitute daleterious drugs for alcohol or a more for 
a less harmful form of liquor."7 

Local Committees were also formed to advise as to 
the withdrawal of licenses and the number and location 
of retail shops. By 1911 there were 200 of them, many 
with non-official majorities. The gross revenue has risen 
from £ 1-95 millions in 1862 to £ 3-61 millions in 1882 
£ 4-06 millions in 1901, and £ 7-61 in 1911; the 
cost of collection from £ 166,000 in 1901-2 to £ 419,000 
in 1911. The average annual revenue and cost were 
£ 8*45 millions and £ 443 thousands respectively for the 
five years 1911-1915. 

IV Customs. The history of our income from import 
duties falls naturally into two sections. The articles on 
which excise duties were levied, must when coming in 
from other countries be obviously subjected to a corres- 
ponding duty at the point of entry ; and as the excise 
duties were raised from time to time, proportionate chan- 
ges must also be made in these import duties. There 
wefe again certain commodities, such as arms and war 
supplies, which for political reasons had prohibitive im- 
port duties' placed upon them throughout our period. 
Lastly, the nineteenth century witnessed a rapid growth 
of industries all over the Eui optan world; a growth 

7 Moral and Mat. Rep. 1911-12, p. 


accompanied by a protective policy in all the leading 
countries except England. This enabled the manufactur- 
ers of particular articles or group of articles to secure large 
profits in their own countries, and they combined into 
gigantic trusts and cartels, obtained bounties from their 
own governments, continuously developed their scale of 
production, and dumped huge quantities of their make on 
foreign markets at prices which under-cut the home-made 
article in countries backward in those particular indus- 
tries. In the face of such an unfair competition, import 
duties sufficient to raise the price of such articles in our 
markets to our usual level is the only remedy. The 
import duties on bounty -fed beet sugar imposed in 1899 
and maintained for some years were of this character. 
The history of the remaining import duties falls into two 
periods, 1859 to 1882 and 1894 to the end of the Great 
War. The intervening twelve years was a period of free 
imports, during which only one new duty was imposed, that 
on petroleum, from 1888. 8 

To defray the cost of the Mutiny a uniform tariff of 
ten Per cent ad valorem was introduced in 1859; very few 
articles were to be admitted free and on the other hand 
some were taxed as high as 20 °/ . This had to be modi- 
fied, however, the very next year. Our first Member for 
Finance, James Wilson, was a free trader, and in his first 
and only budget, he increased the free list and reduced 
the rate in several cases from 20 % to 10. His successor, 
Samuel Laing, lowered the general rate itself to 7\ 
(1864). Three years later the principle was introduced 
of levying duties only upon specified articles, and their 
number was considerably reduced. And in 1875 the 
general rate was further lowered to five per cent. The 
income from the duties on cotton* goods in 1876-77 was 
£ 811,000, about two-thirds of the total income from im- 
ports of the class under consideration. Famine and 

8 The Burma mineral oil industries began about tnis date. 


the Afghan War followed, a Famine Insurance Fund with 
fresfc taxation was projected, and India was in no position 
to sacrifice this annual income of a million pounds and a 
quarter. But, as we saw in Chapter IV, the Lancashire 
Cotton Industry raised its influential voice in parliament 
against it, and between 1878 and 1882, we gave it up 
altogether, since it was not worth while to keep up the 
establishment for collection merely for the sake of a third 
of the whole. The cotton imports rose from £ 35 millions 
a year upto 1878 to £ 47 millions a year for the four years 
1878 to 1881 and to £ 51 millions a year for the next three 
years, and the quantities imported were larger than these 
figures showed, as it was a period of falling prices." 

The great and continuous fall in the gold value of 
silver and the growing loss on exchange to the Indian 
treasury upon its increasing payments in England, obliged 
government to examine all possible ways of increasing in- 
come and reducing expenditure. A reimposition of import 
duties appeared to be the least objectionable course. 10 
Faced with a large deficit in 1 894-5, the Government revived 
the general import duties of 1875, with a few alterations; 
iron and steel goods were to pay only 1 %, petroleum was 
to pay two annas per gallon, and railway materials, prin- 
ting materials ( with the exception of paper ), books, 
industrial and agricultural machinery, raw materials, gold 
and some other articles were to be admitted free. Cotton 
goods had to be excluded from the Act. But it appeared 
by the end of the year that these duties did not bring in 
sufficient revenue, that a deficit of over a crore would 
remain unless cotton imports were also taxed, and Lord 
Rosebery's ministry then in office with Henry Fowler 
( afterwards Lord Wolverhampton ) as Secretary of State 
for India, consented to a 5% duty on cotton goods also, 
but with a countervailing excise equal in amount upon 

9 Strachey, pp. 191-8. 

10 Report, Herschell Committee, 1893, paras 35-46. 

customs 293 

such manufactures of the Indirti cotton mills as might 
compete with the imports ( December 1894). The arrange- 
ment did not satisfy Lancashire, who knew their power 
and were determined to have their own way. Lord Salis- 
bury became premier with Lord George Hamilton as 
Secretary of State for India in the middle of 1895, and the 
latter wrote to the Governor General in Council that "the 
duties should be placed on such a footing as will not 
infringe pledges that have been given or afford ground for 
continued complaint and attack. 11 An amending Act was 
passed in February 1896, under which cotton yarns and 
twists entered free, and all cloth paid an import duty or a 
countervailing excise of 3J%, according as it came from 
abroad or was manufactured at power mills in India. ia 
And this iniquity was enforced in the sacred name of Free 
Trade and with professions of sympathy for the poor Indian 
ryot ! Is it any wonder that other nations feel constrained, 
now and then, to question John Bull's sincerity ? 

No redress was possible for twenty years. Soon after 
the commencement of the Great War the Indian Legis- 
lative Council passed unanimously Sir G. Chitnavis's reso. 
lution that India was eager to demonstrate her unity with 
the Empire and wished to share in the heavy financial 
burden of the war upon Engknd ( 8th September 1914 ). 
And early in the following year it adopted with equal 
enthusiasm another resolution to support England regard- 
less of the sacrifices it might entail ( 24th February 1915 ). 
The first two years of the war were, however, years of 
deficits, and the financial commercial industrial and trans- 

5th September : Dutt, Victorian Age, p. 540. Summary of the 
debate in the Indian legislative council, 3rd February, pp. 541-4. 

12 Income from these cotton dunies, import and excise: — 1897- 
Rs. 78 lakhs and 11 lakhs; 1902-05, 111 lakhs and 22 lakhs per year; 1912- 
15, 174 lakhs and 52 lakhs per year: note that while the import duty 
proceeds grew from 10 to 22 the excise proceeds grew in the ratio of 10 
to 47: from being one-seventh of the income from cotton imports, the 

cotton excise income ca e to be 

(a 2^) th 


port dislocations due to a world-wide conflagration were 
on an unprecedented scale and naturally caused intense 
anxiety. By a piece of extraordinary good fortune, the 
war burst upon us at a time when the Indian helm, politi- 
cal and financial, was in the hands of men gifted with rare 
balance of mind, Lord Hardinge and Sir William Meyer. 
In the budget for 1916-17 the import duties were increas- 
ed 1 6§ to 50 %, the duty on sugar was doubled, and 
other measures were also adopted to increase the revenue; 
of these the income-tax and super-tax measures have been 
already dealt with; the cotton duties were left untouched. 
And as soon as equilibrium was thus restored, and even a 
surplus of & 2| millions secured, the Government of India 
offered a free gift of £l00 millions to England, adding 
that the balance ok£ 3 J millions necessary to make up an 
annual provision of £ 6 millions for the interest and sink- 
ing fund of the gift, would be raised by an increase of the 
import duties on cotton goods from 3^ to 7£%. The Se- 
cretary of State in Council approved the scheme ,'the cabinet 
gratefully accepted the offer, and the amending Act ( VI of 
1917) was passed on the 7th March. Lancashire tried 
her utmost to procure delay, or an equivalent increase of 
the excise duty, even suggesting a reduction in the 
amount of the gift in order that the cotton duties might 
not have to be enhanced. An influential deputation 
waited upon the Secretary of State on the 12th March; 
a less formal deputation had an interview with the pre- 
mier the next day. And when Government proposed 
a resolution in parliament on the 14th, consenting to the 
Indian gift and the financial provisions accompanying 
it, Lancashire moved an amendment " regretting that the 
provisions should include an alteration in the established 
system of duties on cotton goods thereby throwing an 
unnecessary burden upon the people of India; and causing 
a controversy between different parts of the ^Empire 
which it was most inexpedient to raise during the-war/ 
The Government of India had proposed the increase^thc 


previous year also, along with the general enhancement 
of duties mentioned above, but Mr. Asquith was premier 
then, and his ministry had preferred not to raise so 
controversial an issue. The Lancashire members, there- 
fore, urged him and his following to stand firm. Mr. 
Asquith, however, pointed out that India's proposal then 
was connected with ways and means for the purpose of 
balancing her own budget. When she was advised not to 
raise the question for such a purpose, she had accompli- 
shed her object otherwise'; in doing so she had exhausted 
all possible expedients of increasing her income, and 
even created a surplus. Her proposal on the present 
Occasion was quite a different proposition, it was for the 
laudable purpose of helping England to win the war, and 
must be judged on the merits. And he added that what 
she had done was entirely within her competence. The 
only way to alter it now was for parliament to ask her to 
repeal or re-amend her recent Act, a course so high- 
handed that it had never been adopted in the entire 
history of the connection between England and India. 
But he also suggested that Government should add to 
their resolution a declaration that the matter " should be 
considered afresh when the fiscal relationships of the 
various parts of the Empire to one another and to the rest 
of the world came to be reviewed at the close of the War," 
and this the premier accepted. Far more decisive than 
the arguments advanced in the debate was the conscious- 
ness present both in parliament and outside that to 
defeat the. ministry on such an issue would mean their 
resignation and a general election, and that no alternative 
ministry was possible. This was the reason why all the 
sixty-two Irish nationalists present at the debate, whose 
one desire was to embarrass England as much as possible, 
voted for the amendment. But this was also the main 
reason why even of the forty-two Lancashire members 
present, seventeen supported the government, and that 
the amendment was thrown out by 265 j VQtes to 125. 


Export duties have so far had a very subordinate place 
in our tariff. At the general revision in 1875 rice indigo 
and lac were the only articles of importance upon which 
export duties were continued; and the two latter were 
dropped from 1880. An export duty on jute was imposed 
as a war measure in Marcli 1916, and was doubled the 
next year. A rrominal duty of half a pie per pound vjks 
levied on tea from 1903 and the proceeds were handed 
over to the industry to help them in their efforts to extend 
the market for their produce ;• this was raised to Rs. l\ 
per 100 lbs. in 1916. And in September 1919 a duty of 
fifteen per cent was imposed upon the export of raw hides 
and skins with a rebate of two-thirds on their export to 
countries within the Empire. It remains to be seen 
how the principle of a preferential tariff thus accepted 
for the first time is going to fare in our customs history 
in the near future. 

V, VI Salt and Opium. One great benefit India has 
reaped from her unification has been the removal ot in- 
numerable transit and import duties at the boundaries of 
the hundreds of states into which she had been poli- 
tically divided in the pre-British period. A heavy duty 
has been imposed instead upon salt and in order that 
this could be realised at a minimum of cost and trouble 
both to Government and people, its production and im- 
port have been rigidly controlled. The history of the 
tax begins with Lord Clive who started a state monopoly 
in the manufacture in order to increase the emoluments 
of the civil and military servants of the East India Com- 
pany and thus compensate them for the gains from 
'presents' and private trade which they had to forego 
under their covenants. The Court of Directors, however 
sanctioned the creation of the monopoly but annexed the 
entire income to the state treasury* 13 Under these circum- 
stances the new department was naturally a failure and 

13 Afill, bk 4 eh 7. 

SAL't 4 297 

brought little profit until Warren Hastings reorganised it 
in 1780. The monopoly and control were -introduced in- 
to Madras from 1806 and into Bombay from 1837. By 
1862 the gross proceeds had risen to nearly seven crores 
and by 1872 to over nine crores. The burden on the 
people was at the rate of Rs. 3-4-0 in Bengal, Rs. 3-0-0 
in North India, Rs. 1-14-0 in Bombay and Madras and 
about three annas a maund in British Burma upto 1877. 
In order to prevent the cheaper salt of the maritime 
provinces in the south and of Rajputana in the west 
and Kohat in the extreme northwest from being smuggled 
into North India, a barrier of mounds, ditches, and thorny 
bushes was created from 1842, about 2300 miles long, 
from Attak to the Mahanadi, protected by semi-military 
posts, which required 14000 men, at an annual cost o 
162,000 1. But between 1869 and 1871 the Sambhar 
Lake and other Rajputana sources of salt were brought 
under control by treaties with the Chiefs, railway 
transport replaced transport by road, the Central India 
portion of the barrier was abolished in 1874, and the 
remainder, with the exception of a few miles ro.;nd Koha 
in 1879. The reduction of the duty to Rs. 3 a maund in 
Bengal, to Rs. 2-12-0 in North India, and the increase of 
it to Rs. 2-8-0 in Madras and Bombay from 1878-9 was an 
essential part of the change. The increase in the south 
em maritime provinces was defended on the ground that 
while it affected only fiftyeight millions of people, the 
reduction in the North would benefit nearly fifteen crores 
In 1 882 the duty was fixed uniformly at Rs. 2 a maund 
except in Burma and round Kohat but in 1888 fiscal 
needs necessitated an increase to Rs. 2-8-0, and it remain- 
ed at this extremely high level for fifteen years. Imports 
from Cheshire and Aden, Egypt, Turkey and Germany 
increased ; this superior salt only the rich could afford ; 
the proceeds from the tax were Rs. six crores and a half 
annually for the four years upto 1887-8; they jumped up 
to Rs. seven crores and three-quarters in 1888-9, and 


rose to Rs. nine crores and a quarter by 1902-03; but the 
poor man and • his cattle did not get enough salt. The 
National Congress passed a resolution year after year 
praying for a reduction, Pherozshah Mehta in the enlarged 
Legislative Council urged economy in the barren heads of 
expenditure, and a simultaneous reduction of taxation and 
increase of provision for the beneficial heads of expendi- 
ture. u In the budget debate of 1902 G. K. Gokhale 
reviewed the financial history of the period and pointed 
out that taxation had been raised, not only to meet extra- 
ordinary charges for war and famine relief, but also tc 
meet the losses due to the falling rupee and the reduced 
income from opium, and that in consequence as soon as 
the rupee became stabilised and the opium revenue 
recovered, from 1898, large and continuous surpluses 
were realised, which were " a double wrong to the com- 
munity, a wrong in the first instance that they exist at 
all, and also a wrong because they lend themselves to 
easy misinterpretation, " misplaced optimism, and ad- 
ministrative extravagance. 15 And Gokhale was not only 
unanswerable in his financial arguments, he had also the 
born statesman's genius for selecting the right moment at 
which to press them. January 1st, 1903, witnessed 
Edward VII's Coronation Durbar at Dehli, at which Lord 
Curzon announced that the budgets of the very next and 
following years would provide " measures of financial 
relief for the population." le The salt tax was reduced to 
Rs. 2 a maund in 1903, Rs. 1-8-0 a maund in 1905, and 
Rs. 1-0-0 a maund in 1907. 17 The annual income fell 

11 Budget Speech, 28-3-1895; the passage referred to will be also 
found at p 458 of Speeches, and p 340 of Mody's Sir P. Mehta, vol I. 
The last also quotes a passage from the reply of Sir A. Mackenzie, Lt. 
Gov., Bengal, which is a fair specimen of the intolerant narrowminded- 
ness of the average civilian of the period. 

15 Speech, 26-3-1902; see also budget speech 30-3-1904. 

16 Raleigh U p 18. 

17 ' The reduction of the salt duty. right, if there is to be 
any decency in taxation at aH"-— Morley to Minto, 15-2-1907: Recollec- 
tions II p, 202. 

opium 299 

from Rs. nine crores and eighty lakhs in 1 902-03 to a 
little over Rs. five crores in 1908-09. The average for the 
five years ending with 1915-16 was Rs. five crores and 
thirty lakhs. And there was an enhancement of the duty 
in 1916-17 as a war measure to Rs. 1-4-0 per maund. Sir 
W. Meyer's reason for not raising it higher was that the 
increased tariff introduced at the same time would also "to 
some extent fall upon poor consumers." • 

The East India Company found the cultivation of 
opium a monopoly of the State in Bengal, and took its 
administration into their hands from 1781. They farmed 
the revenue from this source, but from 1799 Lord Corn- 
wallis converted the business into a State Department 
under a commissioner. Behar and Benares were the prin- 
cipal districts; the acreage under the crop varied but was 
usually five to five lakhs and a half. Advances were given 
free of interest to the cultivators and the entire produce 
was taken over by the department and opium manufactured 
from it, partly for retail sale in India through licensees, but 
mainly for sale in bulk to exporters. There were also 
large tracts growing the plant in Malwa in Native State 
territories, and imports thence into British districts were 
strictly controlled and heavily taxed. This supply was also 
partly consumed in India itself and partly exported. The 
income to the State from the quantity consumed in India 
was an excise. The income from the export was a gain to 
the Indian treasury derived from the foreigners in China 
and elsewhere, who were the ultimate consumers. Opium 
chests, each containing 140 lbs of the drug were sold by 
monthly auction by the government, and as the prices and 
the number of chests sold per year fluctuated, the income 
also varied. It was about Rs. eight crores per year for 
many years after the Mutiny. From about 1881-2 began 
a period of serious fluctuations. The income was as high 
ass. ten crores in 1880-81 and only Rs. four crores and 
a quarter in 1902-03. From 1903 there was a revival. 


But the puritan agitators, already referred to in Chapter IV, 
had great influence with the liberal party, at the general 
election of 1905 which resulted in the rout of the conser- 
vatives; the liberal leaders had given firm pledges on the 
subject, and although a motion in the House of Commons 
in May 1 906 was talked out, 18 the request of the Chinese 
Government that the export from India be reduced by 5100 
chests per year was accepted in 1907, for three years. 
China claimed that she was reducing poppy cultivation 
within her territories as fast as possible and urged that 
India should help her in her endeavours to reform her sub- 
jects by stopping the export altogether in ten years. Sir 
A. Hosie, consul general at Tientsin, deputed to report 
on the facts, found that poppy cultivation was actually 
decreasing there, and a final agreement was thus made 
with China in May 1910, under which our exports to that 
country were to cease entirely by 1917. ,9 On the other 
hand, our exports to other countries — the Netherlands 
Indies, the Straits Settlements, Hong Kong, England, Siam, 
&c. — have increased, and this has to some extent reduced 
our losses. The average annual income for the period 
from 1903 to 1910 was Rs. 6J crores; for the triennium 
1911-3 it was Rs. 5j crores ; and for the next three years, 
a little under Rs. two crores. 

§ 53 State Profit from Services performed by it 
for which the subjects deriving personal benefits pay fees 
at the time of appropriating the benefit and in proportion 
to its amount, is the third and last source of a regular 
flow of wealth to the treasury in modern states. The 
Government of India pertorms several such services. 

VII Railways and VIII Irrigation have been 
dealt with already. All that-need be added ubout the 
latter is that the net income from major productive works 
has always been handsome, and that the income from the 

18 Alorley, Recollections, II p 172. 

19 Montagu, budget speech, 25-7-1911, 


irrigation works throughout British India, though falling, 
as protective works with their far larger capital cost and 
far lower income are increasing, has still been rarely be- 
low 8%.» 

IX Forests, just like the above two, have a value 
to the community far in excess of the mere money profits 
realised. They moderate the climate, feed the rivers, 
raise the sub-soil water level, store up rain water and 
retard its flow off the land, afford grazing to countless 
herds, are the home of many species of beasts and birds, 
furnish various minor products and conveniences to vil- 
lages in their neighbourhood, and are of increasing utility 
in many ways, besides yielding, with proper care, increa- 
sing supplies of the timber, fuel, pulp, manures, fodder, 
juices, gums, paints, varnishes, roots, medicines, and 
other marketable produce, from which is mainly derived 
the income that pays for their care and upkeep and leaves 
in addition a growing surplus. This has risen from Rs, 
fourteen lakhs in 1865 to Rs. eighty-six lakhs in 1901, and 
a crore and three quarters in 1918. It should go on rising 
at a much quicker rate in the future. 

X Mint and Paper Currency. The trade and 
contract operations of a civilised population with indu- 
stries and economic activities growing in volume and 
complexity need a large and an increasing quantity of 
money or currency in three forms : standard or full value 
metallic coins as legal tender units for ordinary payments, 
token coins in which there is much less metal than their 
face or legally fixed value for fractional payments, and 
paper substitutes to save the trouble and time of counting 
in large payments or the trouble and expense of transpo- 
rting coins for payments to be made at a distance. As 
credit and mutual confidence extend, business morality 

1 Irrigation Report for 1919-20 :— total capital outlay, including 
outlay on works under construction-Rs. 763 lakhs and a half; total net 
incorae-Rs. 61 Ukhs. 


develops a set of conventions, adherence to which becomes 
a point of honour, and other currency substitutes and 
conveniences emerge like bank-notes, cheques, hundis 
(^i\) f and bills. These multiply fast, they soon outgrow 
the total legal currency available many times over, elbow 
the legal currency almost out of sight, and appear to ope- 
rate nearly all the exchanges of the community almost 
by themselves. The business community, too, strengthen 
this appearance and spread this delusion, since it is to 
their own profit to transact the maximum of business with 
a minimum of legal currency. It is, nevertheless, nothing 
but a delusion. This conventional currency is only a 
fair weather medium of exchange. The moment it en- 
counters a breath of suspicion, it flies back in a flash to 
the person who originally uttered it, and bursts like a 
bubble unless he can prove his ability to replace it in full 
by legal currency. Conventional currency, therefore, is 
a mere shadow ; however vast, however serviceable, it has 
no potency of its own ; legal currency is the substance, 
which it is the duty as well as the exclusive privilege of 
the state to supply and maintain in cent per cent purity. 
Gold or silver, chemically pure, is not hard enough to 
stand rough usage. Even our best ornaments, for insta- 
nce, are all the better for two to three per cent of alloy, 
and coins which have to stand far greater wear and tear 
and worse handling than any ornaments must contain a 
little more of alloy. The Indian rupee is eleven-twelfths 
fine, that is, contains 15 grains of alloy and 165 of fine 
silver in its total weight of 1 80 grains. The silver half- 
rupee, quarter-rupee, and two anna piece are also standard 
coins. Only the other coins in circulation are tokens. 
To keep the currency at the legally fixed standard 
of weight and purity, worn out coins have to be with- 
drawn from circulation from time to time. There is there- 
fore the recurring expense on the one hand of this with- 
drawal of light and defaced coins and their replacement, 
and on the other hand the profit from new coinage which is 


proportionally greater in respect of tokens than of stand- 
ard coins. The prices of metals fluctuate just like those 
of other commodities, and the mint might also make a small 
profit by purchasing the bullion it needs at low prices. 
Lastly, a mint is called free, when private individuals can 
take their bullion to it and get it coined, the mint only mak- 
ing a small charge for refining themetal brought to it. The 
total net income from all these sources must, however, be 
kept as low as possible. Currency is a necessary of life 
in civilised countries, it must be made uniformly available 
to the people as nearly as possible at cost price, and the 
justification for making this service a monopoly of the 
state resides in the fact that in private hands the tempta- 
tion to debasement would be irresistible, while even a slight, 
almost imperceptible debasement might mean not only a 
large profit to the coiner, that is, a large indirect tax on 
the community, but it would inevitably lead to loss of 
confidence in the purity of the whole currency in circula- 
tion, the coins which were better than others or supposed 
to be better would be hoarded, and a loss would be inflict- 
ed on the people far in excess of the actual amount of the 

Our mints were free upto the 26th June 1893, on 
which date they were closed to the public by Act VIII of 
1893. All subsequent coinage has been solely on govern- 
ment account, and this has brought a large profit, the 
whole of which has been kept distinct from current trea- 
sury funds as a reserve, called the Gold Reserve upto 1906 
and the Gold Standard Reserve thereafter. Suppose Rs. 1 20 
crores coined during the twenty-one years from the closing 
of the mint to the beginning of the Great War at an aver- 
a ge profit of Rs. 0-4-3 per rupee, 2 the reserve would 

2 "The rupee contains % oz of silver.... When silver is at 32d an oz. 
the cost of a rup*e to the Government is ahout 12*241d M ( Keynes, Ind 
Currency and Finance, p. 37n ). This means a profit of 3.76(1 on every 
rupee coined, with silver at 32d an oz. But from 1893 until it began to 
rise again as a consequence of the Great War, silver was never as high 
as 32d, and was in the neighbourhood of 24d foir several years. The 
coinage profits of our government have thus been much larger than 376d 
per rupee. While silver was at, 24d, the coinage profit was 6'82d per Re. 


amount to £ 25 millions; aft a matter of fact, it was & 25-72 
millions, on the 31st March 1915. 

Of course the closing of the mint, the divorce of the 
value of the rupee from that of its bullion contents and 
fixing it by fiat at one-fifteenth of a sovereign, meant the 
substitution of a gold exchange standard for a natural 
standard, or, in other words, the conversion of the rupee 
into a token coin. The original intention was to develop 
out of this temporary expedient resorted to very reluctan- 
tly, a natural gold standard as soon as possible, but that 
intention was shelved and the state glided into an accep- 
tance of the temporary expedient as itself, the goal. This 
has had far-reaching consequences of an incalculable 
magnitude, but of a character so complex, that it is impos- 
sible to deal with them in an elementary book like this. 

Currency notes issued through a Government depart- 
ment and payable to bearer on demand in legal tender 
coins, were first introduced into British India by Act 
XIX of 1861. India was at that time a vast country, al- 
most a sub-continent, and was for this purpose sub-divi- 
ded into several circles, Calcutta (Cawnpore, Allahabad 
and Rangoon), Bombay (and Karachi), Madras, and 
Lahore ; the notes of each circle were to circulate within 
it, Government were not bound to pay cash for the note 
of any circle beyond its boundaries, although in practice 
they rarely objected to do so ; and they could be issued 
against the Government rupee securities upto a maximum 
of Rs. 600 lakhs, but for every additional note issued, the 
necessary amount was to be held in rupees in a reserve 
called the Paper Currency Reserve. Amending Acts and 
Notifications raised the amount which could be issued 
against securities to Rs. 700 lakhs in 1890, Rs. 800 lakhs 
in 1891, Rs. 1000 lakhs in 1896, Rs. 1200 lakhs in 190b> 
and Rs. 1400 lakhs in 1911. As communications impro- 
ved, trade'.expanded and India became economically unified, 
the sys^m of circle* was found to be a hindrance and was 


given up. Five rupee notes were universalised or made 
payable anywhere in India in 1903, ten and fifty rupee 
notes in 1910, and the hundred rupee note also in the 
following year. The character of the cash reserve has 
also been altered so that it could consist partly of rupees > 
partly of gold coins and partly of gold and silver bullion- 
During the war notes of smaller value were also intro- 
duced, of which the one rupee note has become fairly 
popular. The amount of the notes issued against secu- 
rities had also to be raised to Rs. 20 crores in 1916, nearly 
fifty crores in 1917, over sixty crores in 1918, and over 
99 crores and a half in 1919, and an increasing proportion 
of the securities were English. The interest earned by 
these securities, is the income realised by the state for 
the performance of this service. And in so far as the 
notes circulate freely and no difficulty is felt by the hold- 
er in obtaining cash for them whenever he chooses to 
ask for it, the note issue may be claimed to be per- 
forming its function efficiently. 

XI Posts and Telegraphs perform" services 
that come home to the meanest individual in the popula- 
tion. A low and uniform rate, within the means of 
the poorest, for every letter or telegram conveyed irre- 
spective of the distance involved, is only possible to a 
centralised department covering the whole country with 
its agents. And, as every one knows, the department 
also carries parcels, transmits money, encourages thrift 
amongst the masses by its savings banks, pays pensions, 
issues life insurance or endowment policies to Govern- 
ment servants, sells quinine in pice packets, and has also 
established telephone exchanges and lines in various 
places. The postal section of the department yielded an 
income almost from the first, which grew from Rs. 9 lakhs 
in 1860 to Rs. 20 lakhs in 1900. The telegraph depart- 
ment worked at a loss in the beginning but earned a 
profit of Rs. 13 lakhs in 1880 which grew to Rs. 44 lakht 



in 1900. The income from the department as a whole 
jumped up from 1915, and for the four years from that 
date has averaged Rs. 142 lakhs. And, of course, the 
gain to the people is far in excess of the mere profit to 
the treasury. 

XII Stamps and Registration. Civilised life 
develops a multitudinous variety of property and ser- 
vices and civilised people are continuously entering into 
contracts and effecting exchanges with one another in 
respect of all such forms of property and service. Out 
of such contracts and exchanges disputes also are apt to 
emerge pretty frequently, either between the parties 
themselves, or their legal successors, or one of these 
and a third party who finds rightly or wrongly that his 
own rights and interests have been more or less ignored 
or injured. But security of property, reasonable per- 
formance of contracts, and reasonable freedom to revise 
or cancel contracts with fair compensation to parties 
adversely affected by the exercise of such freedom, are of 
the essence of a civilised society. And in the settlement 
of the innumerable conflicts of interest and disputes thus 
constantly arising, clear precise and dated evidence is 
required at every step. The registration 3 of agreements 
contracts and deeds, imposes full deliberation and publi- 
city upon the parties and secures the automatic creation and 
record of unimpeachable evidence, which either prevents 
disputes or proves of incalculable value in their settlement. 
And when a party goes to court it is only right that, unless 
he can prove his inability to afford it, he should be charged 
a fee in some proportion, however infinitesimal, to the 
value of the claim he advances. The cost of the registra- 

3 When a party has to go to law, his document would not, in some 
cases, be admissible as evidence unless it had been registered at the 
time it originated ; moreover, in the case of a document not written 
on stamp paper, i. e. on which the fee leviable had not been originally 
paid, the party going to law has to pay not only that fee, but a penalty 
besides. No document is registered that is not written on stamp paper 
or not proporly signed and witnessed. 


tion department should be met entirely out of the income 
from registration fees. And if the volume of the business 
it has to deal with leaves a surplus, however low the scale 
of the fees charged, there is no better use for such a sur- 
plus than to treat it as a contribution towards the expendi- 
ture upon the judicial department, which is certain to be 
heavy and in excess of the income derived from court fees. 
Stamps and Registration yielded a net revenue of Rs. 2*76 
crores in 1876, Rs. 4'7S crores in 1896, and Rs. 8-82 crores 
in 1916. 

Alston, Iodian Taxation- -for the whole of this Chapter, 


Financial Deconcentration : Local 


§ 54 Mayo to Hardinge. We have seen that from 
the Regulating Act onwards parliament tried to unify 
British India more and more under the single authority of 
the Governor General in Council. The presidency, 
governments were depressed more and more into admini- 
strations or mere agents of the central authority and the 
process was completed by the Charter Act of 1833. 
Twenty years later witnesses from the provinces, examin- 
ed in connection with a renewal of the Charter pressed 
for some financial independence especially with regard to 
public works, but the Act of 1853 introduced no reduction 
in the Governor General's powers of control. • And after 
the mutiny, the need for economy and the authority of 

1 Sir Charles Wood's speech, 3-6-1853; for extracts see Mukharji 
I p 128-32. 


the Viceroy and his Council and especially of the Finan- 
cial Members of that Council who were appointed directly 
from England were, relatively speaking, greater than ever, 
and the provincial administrations sank so low that they 
could not increase any salary, or create any post or even 
" rebuild a stable that had tumbled down," 2 without the 
sanction of the Government of India. Such over-centra- 
lisation, however, was soon discovered to be suicidal. 
No agent would reduce expenditure below, or obtain an 
income above, the customary amount, if he was left no 
discretion as to the use of the money saved or earned. 
And if the agent's proposals on changes that were either 
indispensable though involving extra expense, or likely 
soon to yield a net gain, were repeatedly vetoed by an 
authority too far off and too ignorant to be able to enter 
into their merits, he would soon lose heart in his work 
•and all sense of responsibility about it. It was necessary, 
therefore, to restore some initiative, discretion, and sense 
of responsibility to the provinces, and the first step in 
this direction was taken by Lord Mayo's Government in 
1871. For this purpose several of the spending depart- 
ments were, so to speak, lumped together into one, to 
be known thenceforward as Provincial Services ; and the 
Government of India made a single consolidated grant to 
each province for these Services collectively, a grant that 
added to the normal income from them was just sufficient 
to cover the normal expenditure. The provinces were 
given a certain amount of freedom in the administration 
of these Services and were assured that they would be 
permitted to carry forward as their own to the ensuing 
year whatever balance they created by better administra- 
tion. The departments thus provincialised were Education, 
Jails, Police, Medical Services (in part), Registration, Print- 
ing and Public Works. Of these Registration was the only 
head that yielded a net income. The next important step 
was taken by Lord Lytton's Government in 1877. In- 

2 Strachey, p 121. 


stead of a fixed consolidated grant, other heads yielding a 
net income were handed over to the provinces; Excise, 
Land-revenue, Forests, Income rax, and Stamps were 
among the heads so transferred, along with the expenditure 
heads of Law and Justice,General Administration and Minor 
Departments. The normal income of some of the income 
heads was transferred altogether, and a share in the 
case of others. Some of the productive Public Works were 
also made provincial. The total provincial allotment in 
1871 was about £5*5 millions; under the more extensive 
scheme of 1877 the control of about £ 16 millions of an- 
nual expenditure was transferred. Five years later Lord 
Ripon's Government went further still. All the heads 
of income and expenditure were arranged under three 
classes : customs, posts and telegraphs, railways, opium, 
salt, tributes, the mint, Home charges, and the military 
department continued wholly Imperial ; civil departments 
and provincial public works became wholly Provincial. 
The rest became Divided Heads, that is, the net income 
was to be shared between the central and provincial 
governments in proportions definitely laid down by 
the former; and amongst them the head of land re- 
venue was given this unique position, that the amount 
by which the allotted income from the other heads fell 
short of the total expenditure transferred to provincial 
control was made up by the transfer of a carefully calcu- 
lated percentage of the land-revenue. 3 These settlements 

3 Lovat Fraser notes as one result of these financial arrangements 
that the provinces "were tempted to be over rigid" in their land revenue 
collections (Curzon and After p 357). And Report I. C. B. § 109 in 
pointing out the defects of the system even after it had been fully deve- 
loped by Curzon, Minto and Hardinge specially emphasizes its bearings 
upon land revenue and irrigation. "As regard revenues, so long as the 
G. of I. take a share in the proceeds they have a strong motive for 
interfering in details of administration. Their interest in land revenue 
e. g., inevitably leads them to a close supervision over revenue settle- 
ments; and the control tends to become tighter in cases where expan- 
sion and development, as in tiie case of irrigation, depend on capital 


were for five years and when first introduced it was fully 
intended that the government of India would not only 
confine their own expenditure within the resources they 
had thus provided for it, but even go to the aid of the 
provinces whenever any one or more of them suffered 
from a calamity like famine. But a long series of lean 
years followed, years, moreover, during which the expense 
on the army and the loss on exchange increased enorm-* 
ously. At the renewal of the quinquennial contracts on 
three successive occasions the supreme 'government seized 
for its own use a substantial portion of the increase in in- 
come which the provinces had created by careful admini- 
stration. And special contributions were also exacted on 
more than one occasion during the period. The inevit- 
able result was again to weaken the administrative and 
financial conscience of the provincial authorities. As Sir 
A.Mackenzie said in the budget debate of 1897, "the 
provincial sheep is close-clipped and shorn of its wool, 
and turned out to shiver till its fleece grows again. The 
normal history of a contract is-two years of screwing and 
saving and postponement of administrative improvements, 
two years of resumed energy on a normal scale, and one 
year of dissipation of balances, for fear that if not spent 
they will be annexed by the supreme government at the 
revision. Now all this is wrong, not to say demoralising.' 

But the cycle of poor years came to an end, the ex- 
change difficulty was over, the opium revenue revived, 
and as mentioned in the last chapter, large surpluses 
were realised year after year. The central government 
started making grants to provinces, earmarking each for 
a specified object and making it a recurring annual grant 
or allowing its utilisation to be spread over years. The 
object was, as Lord Curzon put it, 4 that the provincial 
stokers in charge of the administrative machinery might 
no longer be handicapped for want of fuel and that the 

4 Budget speech, 26-3-1902. 


engines might once more be propelled at full speed. In 
1 904 the entire relations between the supreme and pro- 
vincial governments were reviewed and a system of 
quasi-permanent settlements was started, in which the 
resources handed over to the provinces were for the first 
time not inadequate to their needs, particularly when the 
special grants mentioned above which were also continu- 
ed, and the subsidies 5 given from time to time to such 
provinces as needed them, were also taken into consider- 
ation. And at this third start the determination was 
firmer than ever that the amounts resigned to the provin- 
ces were not to be touched at all by the supreme autho- 
rity as far as possible. The famine of 1 907 added a new 
device, as a buttress to the system. The Government of 
India placed to the credit of the provinces liable to 
famine, a carefully calculated amount, which was to re- 
main at their credit, until when famine broke out it was 
to be drawn upon ; and famine expenditure by any pro- 
vinces beyond this amount was to fall equally upon the 
province and the central government. Finally, in 1912, 
Lord Hardinge's government simplified the entire system 
as far as possible and declared it permanent. The ex- 
penditure handed over to the quasi-independent control 
of the provinces under this scheme of financial deconcen* 
tration rose from £ 18 millions (out of a total of £ 6S 
millions) in 1904, to £ 29 millions (out of a total of £ 79 
millions) in 1911, and £ 36 millions (out of 123) in 1918. 
It was not a system of decentralisation in any proper 
sense of the term. True decentralisation was impossible 
under a constitution that held the Government of India 
and the Secretary of State in Council responsible for 

4 This policy of gi ving subsidies and the connected one of making 
special grants were criticised by more than one province and the 
Royal Decentralisation Commission (1907-9) examined the matter fully. 
For the final decisions of the Government of India on this and all other 
topics arising out of the subject of financial devolution see the G. I. R 
on Provincial Finance, No. 27 F, dated 18-5-1912. 


every detail as well as for the general methods and broad 
results of the governance of British India. The Govern- 
ment of India could not consistently with the dis- 
charge of its own constitutional responsibilities allow 
the provinces to tax or to borrow except only in a 
rery small way ; and real financial or administrative en- 
franchisement is impossible except where adequate powers 
of levying taxes and raising loans exist. No province 
could have a policy of its own either, without such power. 
And unless and until the dependence of the provincial 
executives upon the central was given up, and their de- 
pendence instead upon representative legislatures respon- 
s ible to the people substituted for it, no radical change 
of system was possible. All that can be claimed for the 
financial deconcentration of the period from 1 904 to 1919 
is that it provided less inadequately for the needs of the 
people than the earlier system that bad been introduced 
in 1871, and that it prepared the ground for the funda- 
mentally different system which the Government of India 
Act of 1919 has now rendered possible. 

Report I. C. R. §§ 102-120. 

Mukharji I pp 623-38, 651-67, 719-21. 

§ 65 Presidency Town Corporations. The history 
of local self-government in British India begins with the 
name of Sir Josia Child. He obtained a charter from 
James II (1687) to set up a corporation at Madras,— a 
mayor, aldermen and sixty or more burgesses,— who could 
build a town-hall, a jail and a school-house, improve the 
roads, and undertake the lighting, conservancy and other 
duties of a city corporation, and were empowered to tax 
the inhabitants for such purposes. ' An octroi or termi- 
nal tax was, however, the only impost the inhabitants 
submitted to, and this first corporation languished for 
want of resources. Subsequent efforts to keep the presi- 
dency towns fairly clean and improve them di d not 

1 Ilbert, pp 21-3, 


succeed much better, 2 and government were obliged to 
hand over the duty in each place to three salaried offi- 
cials from 1856. The municipal administration of the 
presidency towns has a continuous history only from this 
point onwards. 

Madras. The Act of 1861 established provincial 
legislatures and these renewed the attempt to create local 
governing bodies for the presidency towns. The Madras 
Act of 1867 divided the city into eight wards, created a 
body of thirtytwo nominated members, four from each 
ward and over eleven of them officials, with a nominated 
president; and entrusted the police, education, hospitals, 
vaccination, street cleaning and lighting of the city to 
this body. The police were taken over by the Govern- 
ment from 1871, and by an amending Act of 1878, half 
the commissioners came to be elected. The corporation 
was however little more than a body of advisers to the 
president, who wielded all the powers, practically with- 
out any check. The most important works of public 
utility completed by this corporation were the Cholavaram 
and Red Hills Tanks, which supplied drinking water to 
the growing population upto 1884. A cyclone breached 
the latter tank in that year, the water was also found on 
analysis to have deteriorated in quality, and :work had 
to be commenced on a new and larger water works scheme 
which was not completed before 1911. In the meanwhile 
the Act of 1884 gave anew constitution to the corpora- 
tion increasing the number of elected members to twenty- 
four. And twenty years later, another Act increased the 

2 The Mayor's Courts, established 1726, were entrusted with some 
municipal functions. Under the Charter Act, 1793,all European British 
subjects could be appointed justices of the peace, and the presidency 
town J P.'s were formed into a corporation and municipal duties were 
assigned to them with the necessary powers. In 1840 and later, ex- 
periments were tried to secure by election from amongst the J. P.'s a 
member who would take fairly continuous interest in such matters. 


total number of corporators to thirtysix, twenty to be 
elected by the wards as before, three each by the Cham- 
ber of Commerce and the Trades Association, and two by 
such other association, corporate bodies, or classes of 
persons as Government might direct. A standing com- 
mittee consisting of the president and eight corporators 
was also constituted to exercise some check upon the 
president on financial and public works questions. And 
power was also given for the removal of the president 
by a vote of twenty-eight members 3 ; but the Madras Corpo- 
ration has throughout been and still continues the most 
backward of the presidency town municipalities. 

Calcutta. The Act of 1 863 established a corporation at 
Calcutta consisting of a nominated president and the 
J. P.'s residing in the city. Schemes of water supply 
and drainage were taken in hand, the Hindu practice of 
throwing corpses into the river was stopped, burning and 
burial grounds were placed under strict supervision, and 
other measures for reducing insanitation were prosecuted 
with vigour. The Act of 1876 replaced the justices of the 
peace by elected and nominated members, fortyeight 
elected by the ratepayers, twentyfour nominated. But the 
Act continued all the powers of the corporation in the hands 
of the nominated president, and even as advisers and 
exponents of popular views and desires, a body of seventy- 
two proved rather unwieldy for business-like debates. In 
the meanwhile the suburbs in close proximity to the 
city but outside the limits oi the corporation grew in 
numbers and in filth, and the ratepayers demanded a 
remedy for the evil. The Act of 1888 amalgamated seven 
of the suburbs with the city, and the water supply, drain- 
age and sanitation systems had to be extended over the 
additional area. Lord Curzon's Act of 1899 followed, 
cutting down the number of members to fifty, twenty-five 

3 There is a similar provision in the Bombay and Calcutta Acts 


elected by the ratepayers, four each by the Chamber of 
Commerce and the Trades Association, two by the Port 
Commissioners, and the rest nominated. This Act also 
created a standing committee of twelve, in imitation of 
Bombay; but the nominated president continued more 
independent of popular check or control, and the corpor- 
ation as a whole, therefore, was more of an officialised 
department, than in Bombay. It was also in imitation of 
Bombay that an Improvement Board of eleven trustees — 
four nominated by government, four elected by the 
Corporation, one each by the Bengal and the Bengal 
National Chambers of Commerce, and a nominated presi- 
dent, — was established by an Act of 1911, to open up 
congested areas, regulate housebuilding and house-occu- 
pation, create open spaces, construct buildings for the 
poor, and pursue systematically a policy of progressive 
city improvement. It is only in one particular that the 
Calcutta corporation appears to have done somewhat 
better than the Bombay model. Its roll of voters was for 
many years as small compared to the population, as in 
Bombay or Madras. But by an amendment of the rules 
in 1909 the number of voters was increased from under 
10,000 to over 38,000. 4 

Bombay. The Bombay Corporation established under 
the Act of 1865 saw the light on the 1 st of July , a day 
never to be forgotten in local history, since it witnessed 
the bursting of the huge speculative bubbles floated by 
reckless company promoters upon the sudden jump in 
cotton prices resulting from the American Civil War. 

4 The racial distribution of the vote is even more striking than the 
small total number of persons held entitled to it. The Bombay Chronicle 
analysed the Bombay Municipal elections of 1916 and 1919; it showed 
among other things, that in 1916 there were only 11,547 voters— 784 
Europeans, 330 Indo-Portuguese and Eurasians, 2,806 Parsis, 2,578 
Muhammadans, 4,924 Hindus, and 125 others. The corresponding figures 
for 1919 were respectively 12,781—858; 246; 2,924; 2,872; 5,760; and 121. 
The distribution in Madras and Calcutta is certain to have been quite as 


This first corporation consisted of a nominated municipal 
commissioner and justices of the peace. Arthur Crawford 
was the first Commissioner and he prosecuted his activi- 
ties for the cleansing and improvement of the island with 
a vigour which soon outstripped the resources placed at 
his disposal. The J. P's had little power to check him, he 
had little need to exceed the extensive powers the Act 
gave him, but in his zeal he was guilty of both extravag- 
ance and irregularities, the J. P.'s themselves led the 
popular agitation for an inquiry and a reform of the con- 
stitution, and the result was the Act of 1872. It was 
universally acknowledged that the powers of the execu- 
tive head must be curtailed, and that a body like the 
J. P.'s appointed for life would not answer. Few of the 
older leaders ventured to suggest a body periodically 
elected by the ratepayers, since they had no hope that 
government would consent to the adoption of popular 
election in India. Pherozeshah Mehta, however, then 
only twenty six, had the audacity and optimism of youth. 
He also saw that it was not merely a Bombay question ; 
the constitution that proved successful in Bombay would 
have every chance of being extended to other Indian 
towns also. He boldly suggested 5 a corporation of which 
half the number was elected by the ratepayers and the 
other half made up of J. P.'s and nominees of the govern- 
ment ; a corporation of which the executive powers were 

5 "... A similar expedient to that adopted in the constitution of 
the English Board of Guardians in which the J. P.'s of the district sit 
ex'Officio along with the elected members, in number limited by law to 
a third of the whole. A number of members, holding positions of public 
trust and importance might be similarly incorporated ex-offlcio in our 
elected body, thus ensuring the admixture of a certain amount of the 
highest intelligence and education in the town. ..such a body may be 
left, not to administer and govern, for which it is radically unfit, but 
to fulfil its proper function. ..The only way to dispose of the excutive 
authority is to vest it in a single responsible officer. ..The most liberal 
political thinker of the present age emphatically lays down that such 
an officer should be nominated, not elected". ..From Mehta's Paper on the 
subject, 29-11-1871, printed at Speeches, pp 81-115; see also, for the rest 
of the above paragraph, Speeches, 186-22, 235-59. And Mody, Life, pp 
56-80, 1 16-21, 193-206, 265-73, and 558-63. 


vested in an officer nominated by government. These 
were the very principles finally embodied in the Act of 
1872,which also provided a Standing Committee of twelve, 
eight elected by the corporation and four nominated, for 
more detailed supervision and control of the executive 
departments. The corporation itself laid^ down general 
policy, scrutinised and sanctioned the budget, and attend- 
ed to complaints and shortcomings. The system worked 
so well that no radical change was introduced by the Act 
of 1888; popular representation was increased by the 
addition of eight members to the whole, 6 four more elect- 
ed by the wards, two by the University, and two by the 
Chamber of Commerce. The Vehar Lake in the valley of 
the Gopur river had been completed in 1860, work on the 
Tulsi Lake in a higher valley was begun and completed 
in the seventies, the Pawai Reservoir was finished in 
1890, and the great Tansa Lake with a masonry dam two 
miles long was ready by 1892. Government and the 
corporation had various differences on financial and other 
questions and on more than one occasion the latter had 
to appeal to the government of India and the Secretary of 
State. But on the whole they worked together fairly 
smoothly, and in the face of calamities like the plague the 
corporation set an example of loyal co-operation to the 
rest of the country. The Bombay Improvement Trust 
was constituted in 1898, with fourteen members,— four 
elected by the corporation, one each by the Chamber 
of Commerce, the Port Trustees and the Mill Owners' 
Association, and seven nominated, — and a nominated 
president. And in 1907 government took upon itself the 
entire burden of the city Police, transferring to the cor- 
poration in exchange the entire burden of primary educa- 
tion, medical relief and vaccination. This put an end to 
controversies which had lasted for years, and the expendi- 

6 Bringing up the total to 72. 


ture of the corporation upon primary education, which 
had been far greater than in Calcutta and Madras from 
the first, has gone on increasing at a still higher rate from 
1 908 upto date. That public opinion has not urged the 
corporation to advance with equal or greater energy in 
providing better sanitation, more and better equipped 
hospitals, medical schools, and at least a second medical 
college, is a fact which clearly indicates the level at which 
vocal and active opinion stands today in our country even 
in wealthy and progressive Bombay. 

§ 56. Town Municipalities. The above account shows 
that Bombay City had elected members before Madras 
and Calcutta. And historically some of the smaller cities 
had elected members in their Municipalities even before 
Bombay. The principle of election was accepted in the 
provincial Acts constituting city and town Municipalities 
(1871-4), which followed Lord Mayo's Decentralisation 
Resolution (1870); *and although C* P. was-the only pro- 

1. The Bengal Act X of 1842 proved inoperative.Act XXVI of 1850, 
applicable to the whole of India, but principally availed of in Bombay 
and U. P., did not create any Municipalities with elected members. 
Local Self-Government in the proper meaning of the term necessarily 
implies looal bodies including a number, however small, of popular re- 
presentatives. Hence the history of local self-government in British 
India begins only with the above Resolution of the 14th December, 
paras 23 and 24 of which are quoted here as really initiating the 

" 23. But, beyond all this, there is a greater and wider object in 
view. Looal interest, supervision and care are necessary to success 
in the management of funds devoted to Education, Sanitation, Medical 
charity, and Local Public Works. The operation of this Resolution, 
in its full meaning and integrity, will afford opportunities for the 
development of Self-Government, for strengthening Municipal insti- 
tutions, and for the association of Natives and Europeans to a greater 
extent than heretofore in the administration of affairs. 

24. The Gov. Gen. in Council is aware of the difficulties attend- 
ing the practical application of these principles But they are not 
insurmountable. Disappointments and partial failures may occur; but 
the object in view being the instruction of many peoples and races in 
a good system of administration, H. E. in Council is fully convinced 
that the Local Govts, and all their subordinates will enlist the active 
assistance, or at all events the sympathy, of many classes, who have 
hitherto taken little or no part in the work of social and material 


vince in which election thus came to be generally resor- 
ted to, the other major provinces also (except Burma) 
came to have a number of municipalities with elected 
members. Lord Ripon's Resolution of 1882 followed, 
that solitary gleam of genuine liberalism in the entire 
period of which we are reviewing the history. 2 Lord 
Ripon's aims were a greater uniformity, a greater asso- 
ciation of the people in the tasks and responsibilities of 
a civilised administration, which were bound to grow in- 
creasingly onerous, and above all the development of "an 
instrument of political and popular education." He re- 
alised clearly that the steps he advocated might bring 
about at first some loss of efficiency but " had no doubt 
that in course of time as local knowledge and local in- 
terest were brought to bear more freely upon local admi- 
nistration improved efficiency would in fact follow," espe- 
cially if Government officers " set themselves to foster 
sedulously the small beginnings of the independent political 
life and came to realise that the system really opened to 
them a fairer field for the exercise of administrative tact 
and directive energy than the more autocratic system 
which it superseded." He added that H as education ad- 
vanced there was rapidly growing up an intelligent class 
of public-spirited men all over the country whom it was 
not only bad policy but sheer waste of power to fail to 
utilise." And he also urged that the contemplated ad- 
vance could not be a success unless it was "though cau- 
tious, yet at the same time real and substantial." The 
fundamental principles he laid down, " which after every 
allowance has been made for local peculiarities must be 
universally followed and frankly adopted, if the system 
was to have anywhere a fair trial " were : — (1) Not less 
than two-thirds of the members of the Municipalities 
must be non-officials. (2) The system of election should 
be cordially accepted, Government officers should set 

2 To be more exact, in the period from 1858 to 1906. 


themselves to make it a success, and it should be intro- 
duced at once as widely as possible, first in towns of any 
considerable size and then though cautiously also in 
smaller and less advanced areas ; "the simple vote, the 
cumulative vote, election by wards, election by the whole 
town or tract, suffrage of more or less extended quali- 
fication, election by castes or occupations, new methods 
unthought of in Europe," should all be tried, until ex- 
perience indicated the form or forms " best suited to 
the local peculiarities and idiosyncracies of the different 
populations." (3) Government control should be exer- 
cised in two ways : Municipalities should have to obtain 
the sanction of Government before deciding upon some 
of the most important acts, such as raising a loan, levy- 
ing a novel tax, or any matters likely to affect religious 
passions or the public peace. But the number of cases 
in which such previous sanction was insisted upon ought 
to be gradually reduced, and the executive should confine 
itself more and more to " control from without rather 
than from within; " the act oracts of the Municipality 
might be set aside in particular cases; " in the event of 
gross and continued neglect of any important duty," the 
Board might even be suspended for a time; but all the 
resources of friendly advice, sympathetic exhortations 
and timely remonstrances must first be exhausted. (4) 
The chairmen should be non-officials as far as possible, 
for thus alone would the non-official members come to 
feel that they had real power and responsibilities; thus 
also could the committees become effective schools oi 
public spirit and political education. The chief execu- 
tive officers should stand outside, "acting as arbiters bet- 
ween all parties, and not as leaders of any;" and so, even 
where, to begin with, official chairmen could not be dis- 
pensed with, they should not vote in the proceedings. 
(5) Expert advice help and supervision by such Govern- 
ment officers as engineers and doctors must be rendered 


by them as servants of the Municipality and not their 
masters; the outside control vested in the District Officer 
should be sufficient to ensure smooth working. (6) Last- 
ly, the resources made available for these self-governing 
bodies should in the main be such as could yield an in- 
creasing revenue with improving administration ; nor 
should any duties involving additional expenditure be 
transferred to them without the simultaneous transfer 
of additional resources fairly adequate for the pur- 

It must be admitted that these ideas were at the mo- 
ment of their promulgation somewhat in advance of the 
time. Outside the presidency towns, the great majority 
of the elderly Indians who had then acquired any emin- 
ence, still preferred nomination by the government ; a 
contested election they hardly cared for, success in one 
they hardly deemed an honour ; nor were there many 
among them who could face their responsibilities or make 
a firm stand in the defence of their own convictions. 
The provincial governments were not ignorant of these 
facts and in translating the aspirations of Lord Ripon's 
Resolution into Acts of the legislature (1883-5), 3 they 
drafted the provisions in a conservative spirit. In the day 
to day administration of these provisions, again, the Dis- 
trict Officers and their superiors whittled them down still 
further. And in the meanwhile, education was spread- 
ing, the younger men coming to the front were increas- 
ingly of a more modern type, nor did there arise any one 
between Lord Ripon and Lord Morley to recast the laws 
and reform the practice. The Decentralisation Commis- 
sion appointed by the latter reported in 1 909, a genera- 
tion:after Lord Ripon, that Municipalities ought to be 
given a substantial elective majority and allowed to elect 
their own chairmen, that they should have greater free- 

3 The Act remodelling the C. P. Municipalities was passed as 
lute as 1889. 



dom in regard to their duties, establishments and taxes> 
that they must be relieved of some of the charges and 
contributions taken from them, and that they could not 
perform even their proper functions efficiently until they 
were also granted both a permanent addition to their 
resources and occasional substantial assistance besides to 
undertake necessary but expensive projects such as drain- 
age or water supply schemes. 4 The period from 1882 to 
1910 was not indeed altogether barren. Lord Ripon had 
spoken of a temporary loss of efficiency for the sake of 
familiarising the people with the modern methods of sup- 
plying their needs and solving their problems by their 
own efforts, through their own representative commit- 
tees. What actually happened was "that the educative 
principle was subordinated to the desire for more immediate 
results. . . . The broad fact remained that in a space 
of over thirty years the progress in developing a genuine 
local self-government had been inadequate in the greater 
part of India ." 5 In spite of elected members slowly in- 
creasing in numbers to about a half of the total, the system 
worked mainly as a department of the State imposed upon 
the people from above. Town conservancy and sanita- 
tion, the principal markets and roads and especially the 
water supply improved upto a certain point and then 
were maintained at that higher level. The last of these 
services is a specially noteworthy item. The large num- 
ber of cities and towns which have had water-works con- 
structed for them, bringing to each house an abundant 
supply of pure water, reflects as much credit on the 
administration as their successful fight againt smallpox 
mentioned in an earlier chapter. But though there has 
been this improvement in the municipal administration in 
the course of these decades, the rate of improvement cannot 

4 Report, ch 20 ; see also the 1915 Resolution on L. S.-G. Policy. 

5 Report I. C. R„ § 13 ; see also the 1918 Resolution on L. S.-G. 
Policy, § 3. 


be held to have kept pace with the growing needs, still 
less outstripped them : a more favourable judgment is 
impossible in face of the death-rate. 

A brisker rate of progress commenced from 1910 
when Sir Harcourt Butler was placed in charge of the 
department as a member of the Governor-General's Coun- 
cil, and especially from 1915 when Sir C. Sankaran Nair 
succeeded him. The municipalities — and District Boards 
— became from 1892 electoral colleges for the return of 
members to the provincial legislative Councils, a function 
that assumed somewhat greater importance from 1 909, as 
they returned more members under the Morley Reform. 
And with the parliamentary announcement on the 20th 
August 1917, it has become more than ever necessary to 
make the municipalities — and the district boards — repre- 
sentative bodies responsible to the people in the full sense 
of the term. The Viceroy in commenting on the pronoun- 
cement observed that the time had come to quicken the 
advance in the domain of urban and rural self-govern- 
ment, to stimulate the sense of responsibility in the ave- 
rage citizen and to enlarge his experience. A Resolution 
of the Government of India reviewing the subject as a 
whole followed (1918), with recommendations of a far- 
reaching character. (1) The elective element was to 
be raised from slightly over a half to seventyfive per 
cent, of the total number of members. An adequate 
representation of minorities was to be secured either 
by communial representation or by nomination. As 
Chief Officers, Municipal Commissioners, Health Officers, 
and other experts ( whose appointment to executive 
office under the general direction of the municipality 
but with powers defined by legislation and by-laws had 
been recently introduced)", increased in numbers, it was 

6 Bombay provided for such appointments by an amending Act in 
1914 ; U. P., in 1916 : &c. 


felt that the need for Government officials as members 
of municipalities would not in future be as great as in 
the past. But even where they continued to be neces- 
sary, they were to be appointed merely as advisers and 
supernumeraries, without the right of voting. (2) The 
municipal franchise was high, its actual working was not a 
little arbitrary, and the electoral roll rarely included more 
than six per cent of the population. This was to be re- 
formed everywhere, and the electorate was to include 
about sixteen percent., so as to be really representative of 
the ratepayers. (3) Of the chairmen in 1914-15, 222 (32°/ ) 
were elected non-officials, 51 (7°/ ) were nominated non- 
officials, 248 (35°/ ) were elected officials, and 174 (25°/ ) 
were nominated officials. 7 Bombay had 56 non-official 
chairmen out of a total of 153; Bengal, 82 out of 
111 ; Punjab, 16 out of 104 ; U. P., 39out of 84 ; Mad- 
ras, 53 out of 63 ; C. P. and Berar, 12 out of 56 ; 
Bihar and Orissa, 12 out of 55; Assam 3 out of 15 ; 
and the chairmen in the Municipalities of the other 
provinces, about sixty in all, were as a rule officials. 
The number of elected non-officials as chairmen was 
to be increased as far as possible, though municipalities 
were not to be forbidden either to ask for a nominated 
chairman or to elect an official as chairman, but in the last 
alternative the election was to be by a majority of the 
non-official members and to be also dependent upon the 
approval of higher authorities. (4) The subject of control 
over the municipalities by the executive government gave 
rise to recommendations equally fundamental. Indebted 
municipalities whose loans had been either obtained from 
or guaranteed by Government were not to be free to make 
any alterations in their taxation without government 
sanction; but all other municipalities, especially those 
with a substantial elective element returned on a broad 
franchise, were to have full liberty in the matter withi n 

7 Resn ; 1915, § 7. 


the limits laid down by the legislature, except where the 
legislature had not prescibed a maximum rate. The muni- 
cipalities were also to have such greater control over the 
establishments provided out of their resources as the Decen- 
tralisation Commission had recommended. And the further 
recommendations of that body that municipalities should 
be free to make their own budgets, provided that they 
maintained a prescribed balance, and that the grants and 
subsidies given to them by Government should not be 
rigidly earmarked for specific services or should be in the 
form of a percentage contribution towards the expenditure 
on particular objects, were also endorsed. On the other hand, 
the powers of the executive government, exercised either 
by the Collector and District Magistrate, or by the 
Commissioner, or by the Provincial Government itself, to 
suspend particular resolutions of a municipality, to re" 
medy the neglect or omission to perform certain indispens- 
able services, and even to suspend a municipality for a 
time in cases of grave and continued default,-at any rate, 
after Government had dissolved one council and ordered 
a fresh election to enable the electors to replace it by a 
better,-were necessary in the interests of the people and 
were to continue unimpaired. (5) Finally, the member 
of the executive council in charge of the local self govern- 
ment portfolio might have a board or a standing committee 
of the legislative council to help him, and such a body 
might not only shape policy and serve as a supreme court 
of appeal, but it might also entertain inspectors, auditors 
and other expert establishments, not merely to check and 
criticise but also to help, advise, and influence munici- 
palities and local boards in a variety of ways. 

Municipal activities and municipal finance are still in 
their infancy in our country. The importance of cattle and 
dairy produce, vegetables and green groceries, and of 
maic and female labour for miscellaneous domestic and 


factory purposes is not yet sufficiently realised, nor has 
any comprehensive policy been yet attempted or even 
thought out, distinguishing clearly between the sphere 
and responsibilities of the State, the towns, and the village 
areas in these matters; and the consequence is that chaos 
reigns although under the title, so dear to mid- Victorian 
liberalism, of individual liberty and free competition, chaos 
but slightly mitigated by such State tinkering as factory 
laws. Latterly we have begun to talk glibly of garden 
cities, city improvement and town-planning; but we do not 
appear to have advanced even in idea beyond wider 
roads and sanitary dwelling houses in particular areas. 
The key to the rapid, adequate and permanent improve- 
ment of a congested area like Bombay, for instance, really 
lies not inside that area at all, but outside ; the real 
problem is to remedy the human drift towards Bombay, 
the instinctive drift of struggling masses in search of em- 
ployment and food ; and the real solution can only be 
such an organisation of production and labour in the sur- 
rounding areas as would yield to the people there suffi- 
cient remunerative employment and so fix the bulk of 
them where they are, enabling each locality to keep for 
itself out of what it produces sufficient for its own regu- 
lar needs, and to export the surplus. To try to make 
just one organ or region in a whole organism stronger 
and more active than the rest of it, is mere- 
ly to draw the whole life-blood more and more 
into it, and thus to destroy the whole organic complex 
all the more surely, because the real effect is disguised by 
the maintenance of a hectic appearance of health vigour 
and progress in the particular organ or region favoured 
by this one-sided short-sighted system. Local remedies 
may have to be attempted at start, but these could only be 
palliatives, and there could not be any real solution with- 
out envisaging and attempting the problem as a whole in 
all its intricate ramifications. The legislature, how- 


ever, has so far assigned to municipalities and 
rural boards hardly any powers and responsibilities for 
the proper regulation and organisation of any of these 
larger matters. 8 The fact is that in the definition of 
the powers to be granted to municipal and rural boards, 
English models are for India almost the worst models in 
the world to follow. Great Britain is a little island ob- 
taining the bulk of its necessaries by import 
from other countries, and exporting in return 
capital, political commercial and shipping services, coal, 
and manunfactured goods. It is by this system of econo- 
my miscalled free-trade, that England has maintained a 
marvellous rate of growth in wealth and population for 
over a hundred and twenty years. Its manufacturing 
ship-building and mining districts thrive upon a concen- 
tration of the population. Self-sufficiency in the produc- 
tion of necessaries became physically impossible long 
before Peel's repeal of the Corn Laws, and even the idea of 
maintaining it was dropped with that repeal. Picture a 
ship at sea now in front of one coast and now another, 
with vast almost inexhaustible mineral stores in its holds 
and several workshops upon its decks; there are plenty of 
children, women and old men always on board, the ship 
is their only home ; but of the adult male population, 
large numbers always spend more of their time on the 
coasts, and taking capital skill and power along with 
them when they land, they send over to the ship interest, 
profit and tribute dividends in the shape of necessaries 

8 See, for instance, the Bombay District Municipal Act 1901, as 
modified upto the end of 1919-20, ch. 9. "Municipal Powers and Offenc- 
es." The sub-captions are : Powers in respect of streets (3 sections), 
Powers to regulate buildings &c. (7 sections ), Powers connected with 
drainage &c, (14 sections), Powers regarding external structures etc. 
(6 sections), Powers for promotion of public health safety and conveni- 
ence (8 sections), Powers for the prevention of nuisances (13 sections), 
Regulation of markets sale of food etc. (12 sections), and Nuisances 
from certain trades and occupations (12 sections). 


and luxuries ; the men, women and children busy on the 
ship in its holds and its workshops consume themselves 
only a little of what their labour yields, they are labour- 
ing all the while with a view to the needs of the coast 
populations, and sending over the bulk of what they 
make, buy in return such other necessaries and luxuries 
as they need but cannot produce inside the ship. That 
has been the situation, the policy and the economy of 
England. State municipal and rural institutions and re- 
gulations which further such a system, the Englishman 
instinctively looks upon as inherently right and just ; 
institutions and regulations of a different character he 
finds it difficult to understand, and even when he does so 
his sympathy for them can only be halfhearted. India on 
the other hand is a sub-continent, economically self-suffi- 
cient and even rich if properly organised, and geographi- 
cally severed to an exceptional degree from other countries, 
so that it is no exaggeration to call it a world in itself. 
The Englishman, again, is not only self-reliant but also 
enjoys his self-reliance, to an exceptional degree. That 
is what his history and traditions have made him. Our 
history and traditions, on the other hand, have fashioned 
us very differently. We are almost at the opposite pole 
of humanity. The Indian is nothing if not communal : 
the family, the caste, the hereditary occupation and 
status, the village, the birthplace, he clings to with all his 
heart, and more than all his strength ; he is never so 
happy as when living and working in and through and 
for them and under their protective canopy (g^r). As 
soon as our municipalities and districts become really 
self-governing, it needs no prophet to predict that the 
tendency will be to claim for them almost all the 
powers of a state in miniature, and to organise 
them as a federation of occupation and trades' gilds, 
each accepting full responsibility for and asking for 
complete control over its members. That, of course, 


would be mediae vali sin, and the tyranny of it would be 
far greater under modern conditions. India is a world in 
itself; but it does not follow that each or any of its 
provinces is a world in itself; and to allow any town or 
district to organise itself on the supposition that it was 
also a world in itself would be the height of absurdity. 
Municipalities and districts must have far greater powers 
and freedom than hitherto ; but where the line of demar- 
cation is to fall between these on the one side and the 
State on the other, how each is to be the associate feeder 
and prop of the other in the every day life education and 
production of the community as a whole, is a problem so 
complex and difficult, that our legislatures will not be 
able to solve it in a hurry. Perhaps the best policy in 
the long run would be to allow local bodies a reasonable 
latitude for experimentation in the beginning, so that 
courses tempting in appearance but essentially unsound 
might have their real nature demonstrated, and the evils 
and losses necessarily resulting might be held in check 
and prevented from spreading over extensive areas. 

The annual income of our district municipalities 
from taxes and rates and government contributions was 
Rs. 129 lakhs in 1880-1, Rs. 237 lakhs in 1900-1 and 
Rs. 492 lakhs in 1912-13. • As there were seven 
hundred municipalities in the last year, the average 
income per municipality was Rs. 70,000 per year. The 
average in the U. P. with its large cities such as Lak- 
hnow, Benares, Cawnpore, Agra, and Allahabad, the 
smallest of which has over a lakh and three quar- 
ter inhabitants, is almost Rs. one lakh per 
year ; the average in Bombay with its many municipalities 
that in other provinces would be only < notified areas', is 
only Rs. 57,000 per year ; in Behar and Orissa the average 
falls below Rs. 40,000. The principal taxes are octroi in 

9 Imp. Oaz. IV p 306 and the 1915 Res n., § 10, 


Bombay, U. P., Punjab, C. P., N. W. F. P., and Dehli; 
and taxes on houses and lands in the other provinces. 
The second is a tax upon property or capital or consump- 
tion, and in so far as it is a tax on capital, the owner 
could transfer it to (i. e. recover it from) the man actually 
consuming the capital, and thus alter it into a tax on con- 
sumption ; but it is always felt as a direct tax. The first 
is a tax on consumption which is not so felt, since it is 
collected from the person bringing the article within 
municipal limits and not from the individual consuming 
it. Madras, Burma, Berar, and Assam District Municipali- 
ties also realise substantial amounts from tolls; Punjab, 
N. W. F. P. and British Baluchistan are the only pro- 
vinces where there are no tolls; and every province taxes 
animals and vehicles. The tax on professions and 
trades — an income tax — is the principal source of munici- 
pal income in Berar, and Madras also derives one-fifth of 
its taxation-income from this source. And the other 
taxes levied are really rates for the services rendered such 
as water-supply, conservancy, lighting, schools, and hos- 

§ 57 Rural Boards and Village Panchayats. The 
remaining section of the subject can be dealt with more 
briefly. There were no elected members on rural bodies 
in any province until the local self-government Acts 
passed in consequence of the Ripon Resolution intro- 
duced them. ' That Resolution desired that "the 
smallest administrative unit-the subdivision, the taluka, 
or the tahsil, — should ordinarily form the maximum area 
to be placed under a local board ; " and recommended for 
such boards as also for the higher district council or board 
in each district the same principles and aims as have been 
indicated in the foregoing sketch dealing with the munici- 
palities. But in the boards actually set up or reorganised 

1 For the earlier history of rural bodies see Imp. Gaz, IV pp 298-9. 


in the eighties of the last century there was even less 
self-government than in the municipalities. Madras 
evolved a triple set. In the greater part of that presi- 
dency there are village sites, as elsewhere in India, but 
the houses of the villagers are scattered, many of them 
being in the fields, so that neighbouring villages meet 
and commingle, and in parts of the west coast even the 
regular village sites are non-existent. 2 Here, therefore, 
we have village unions, or all the inhabitants of a certain 
area, containing several village sites or only one or nonei 
placed for sanitary administration under a body miscalled a 
panchayat, ( M^imd ). 3 Larger areas are the subdivisions of a 

2 Upper Assam, too, has no village sites. The houses of the 
villagers are also scattered in Bengal proper, and in the delta of the 
Ganges and the Brahmaputra as the rainy season inundations subside! 
fresh mounds are thrown up, and houses closely packed together upon 
them, to be all washed away either at the very next inundation or in 
a few years. In Baluchistan and N. W. F. P. nomad tribes exist in 
large numbers. And forest tribes, hillmen, and aborigines in a still 
more primitive stage are still to be found in various parts of our vast 
country. The residential village with or without a wall or a hedge 
all round it or with a tower of refuge or a walled temple in the vicinity 
for shelter in times of danger, exists in the rest of India. But when 
the census of 1901 is quoted as having enumerated 728,605 villages in 
British India, the above brief summary of exceptional areas should be 
borne in mind, and it should be further remembered that "in some 
places the village was taken to »be the area demarcated in the course 
of a survey, corresponding more or less to the English parish or the 
Tentonic mark," and in such cases was not necessarily a residential 
village community. — Imp.Gaz.l pp 455-6; J.Matthai, Village Govt, pp 8-9. 

3 Under the Madras Local Boards Act, V of 1884, a village union 
with 5 or more members, principally headmen of the villages falling 
within the union, and a chairman nominated by the chairman of the 
taluka board, looked after (1) lighting the roads, (2) making and repair- 
ing roads and drains, (3) keeping them clean, as also wells, tanks, etc 
(4 water supply, by constructing and repairing tanks, wells, etc. (5) 
establishing a,.d maintaining such hospitals dispensaries and schools 
as Government had sanctioned, (6) and, generally, doing all that might 
be require l for tae presevation of public health. Bengal too had *>uch 
unions from 18.5 but they were introduced there experimentally in 
some parts only, and do not appear to have been a success. Bomlay 
and C,.P. had instead village sanitary committees, the larger B< mb«y 
villages had sanitary boards with larger powers, from 1889. In IJ. P. 
the-po*er of cleansing and constructing wells at the cost of the n igh- 
bourhood was given to the Collector from 1892, and there were neither, 
sanitary committees nor village unions before 1912— Matthai 
pp 99— 108* 


district made for constructing and attending to local works 
such as village roads, tanks, rest houses or dharmasalas 
(wVt55t), school buildings, lock-ups, &c. Each of these areas 
including several village unions has a taluka board mainly 
for these rural public works. And there is the District 
Board for the whole District. Excepting Burma, which 
has no rural boards at all, and Assam, which has taluka 
boards only, all the provinces have District Boards; and Bom- 
bay, C. P., Bengal, Behar and Orissa, and parts of Punjab 
and N. W. F. P. have sub-district boards also. U. P. had 
them upto 1906, but the U. P. Act III of that year abolish- 
ed them. 4 Except in Bombay, elected members were in- 
troduced only in the district boards, and in some of the 
provinces these members were elected by the lower boards 
out of their own members and these were all nominated. 
The electors suchas they were and where there was 
any election, were only -6 percent of the population. 
After the report of the Decentralisation Commis- 
sion (1909), recommending that nominated members should 
be only just sufficient to provide for minority representation 
and official experience, elected members have been 
everywhere increased. But Bombay did not 
consider it advisable to have an elected majority 
in either board, while such a majority was introduced in 
Bengal, Behar and Orissa, and Assam, and in C. P. and 
Madras the elected element was increased to two-thirds 
and the in U. P. to three-fourths. The chairmen of the dis- 
trict boards have everywhere been Collectors, and of the 
taluka boards, the subdistrict officers. The U. P. Act 
mentioned above provided that the district board should 
elect its chairman, subject to confirmation by the Lieute- 
nent Governor. The Decentralisation Commission held 
that to drop the district and sub-district officers from the 
presidentship would be to dissociate them from the 

Later on they were replaced in that province by tahsil sub' 
committees of the district boards. 


general interests of the district. And the Resolution of 
1918 has recommended that the franchise in all the rural 
boards should be substantially extended and that 
election or nomination of non-officials as chair- 
men should be encouraged, provided that the 
district or subdi strict having a non-official chairman should 
also have a special executive officer, appointed or removed 
only with the sanction of the Government. 

The District Boards all over British India numbered 200, 
the sub-district boards, under 540, and the village unions, 
under 640. They had over Rs. five and a half crores to 
spend in 1912-13, and over Rs. seven crores in 1917-18. 4 
The public works expenditure came to 50°/ o , the educa- 
tional to 25°/ 5 and that on medical relief to 10°/ of the 
total. The main item in their income was the one anna cess 
on the land revenue; but upto 1913 the Bengal, Bihar and 
Orissa, U. P., Punjab, and N.W. F.P. Governments handed 
over to them only a part of this, diverting considerable 
amounts to rural services which were not placed under their 
control. The contributions from the provincial Governments 
came to about 25°/ of their income from all other sources 
and from 1 905 onwards the large capital and recurring 
grants which the Government of India has made principally 
for the improvement of education and sanitation have 
enabled the boards to confer increasing benefits upon 
the village population. The Decentralisation Commission 
recommended that a District Board might be allowed to 
levy an extra cess of one pice per rupee of land revenue, for 
building a light railway or a tramway, and Government 
accepted the suggestion, adding that the Board might either 
accumulate the proceeds and build the line out of them, or 
after a short period of such accumulation raise the balance 

4 Excluding "extraordinary" and 'debt" items. 

5 In Bombay 38%was spent upon education; in rj.P.,C.P„and Berar, 
and N. W. F. P., 30%: but on the other hand only 17% in Bihar and 
Orissa, and Madras was at the bottom of the list with only 10%. 


of the capital required on the security of the line itself, or 
raise all the capital from the first on the guarantee of this 
annua] income. Madras, Bengal and Bombay have al- 
ready taken advantage of this concession and some other 
provinces are going to do so in the near future. Other 
similar devices of increasing the resources of rural bodies 
either for general purposes or for some special object 
might also present themselves ; and the provincial and 
central governments might have a period of financial pro- 
sperity before them, enabling them to make larger con- 
tributions for local use than in the past. Such contingen- 
cies, however, are unlikely, and steady progress, at any 
rate, cannot result from uncertain windfalls. Our district 
municipalities and rural boards must overcome the extre* 
me reluctance they have so far shown to tax themselves 
even for objects necessary as well as paying in the long 
run, both directly and indirectly. Professor Gilbert Slater 
holds, for instance, that one of the evils India is suffering 
from to-day is "the heavy and crippling burden of insuffi- 
cient taxation." No Indian economist will endorse the 
view for British India as a whole ; but the ingenious anti- 
thesis does contain a lesson for our district municipalities 
and rural councils. 

In his statement submitted to the Decentralisation 
Commission G. K. Gokhle 6 said : — 

"The time is gone by when the Collector could hope to exercise and 
with beneficial results a kind of paternal authority over his district. 
The spread of education, the influence of new ideas, the steadily grow- 
ing power of the vernacular press make a return to the benevolent 
autocracy of the Collector of old times impossible. The only remedy lies 

6 He gives the following figures about villages in the Bombay 
Presidency : — Total number in the British districts — about 26,000; popu- 
lation below 500— about 16,000; population from 500 to 1,000— about 5,000; 
larger— the rest. For the villages with a population below 500 he says 
they should either be joined to larger adjoining villages or grouped into 


in oarrying a substantial measure of decentralisation down to the vil- 
lage! and in building up local self-government from there. . . 

I think in all villages with a population of 500 and over, a Panchayat 
should be constituted by statute to consist of five or seven members 
. (viz.) the village headman, the police patel of the village where 
he exists separately, the village munsiff, and the village conciliator, 
. . and two or three other persons chosen by such of the villagers 
as pay a minimum land revenue of, say. Rs. ten. These Panchayats 
should be invested with the following powers and functions :— 

(a) The disposal of simple money claims not exceeding Rs. fifty 
in value, their deoision to be final unless gross partiality or fraud was 
alleged. 7 . . . They may charge one anna in the rupee on the value 
of the claims as costs in the suits, the parties being exempted from 
•tamp duty and other fees. 

(6) Trial of trivial offences, such as petty thefts (the value not 
exceeding Rs. ten), simple assault, simple hurt, abuse, nuisance, etc. 

(r) Execution and supervision of village worki. 

(d) Management of village forests. 

(e) Distribution of sanctioned allotments of tagavi in the village. 
(/) Carrying out measures of famine and plague relief. 

(g) Control of village water supply and irrigation. 

(/») Supervision of school attendance. 

(i) Management of cattle-pounds. 

The funds of the Panchayats should consist of assignments made by 
the Taluka Board, costs of civil litigation realised, fines and penalties 
levied locally, realisation from village forests and cattle-pound receipts. 
As in the case of Co-operative Credit Societies, it may be necessary for 
the Government to appoint a special officer to start and guide for a time 
these Panchayats and watch over their working."8 

The Decentralisation Commission accepted in a 
general way the desirability of developing village pancha- 
yats with powers and responsibilities with regard to local 
affairs ; but they did not recommend any specific scheme 
for the whole country, and held that " the system must be 
gradually and cautiously worked". The provincial 
governments were even colder in their reception of the 
idea, and more than one of them were distinctly unfavour- 

7 He notes that the total number of suits in the presidency is an- 
nually about 1£ lakhs, and fully half the number are claims not exceed- 
ing Rs. 50 in value. 

8 Speeches, p p. 1213-4. Compare the provisions in the Madras 
Panchayats Bill introduced by Mr. T, Rangachari in Mrs. Besant's club 
for political debates, the Madras Parliament, published (1916) as No. 3 
of the Madras Parlt. Transactions. 


able to it.» The Government of India decided that (1) 
panchayats might be introduced in selected villages w 
'where the people in general agree,' (2) that where-ever intro- 
duced, all other bodies and committees should be merged 
in them, (3) and that if judicial functions were conferred 
upon them they should be permissive. The essential 
point in the constitution of the panchayat was, in their 
opinion, the association of the village officers with others 
informally elected by the villagers themselves ; and of the 
possible functions to be assigned to them the most impor- 
tant were village sanitation, village education, and 
jurisdiction in petty civil and criminal cases. 

Legislative measures were introduced or under pre- 
paration in more than one province in recent years for 
improving local self-government, enlarging the powers 
and responsibilities of local bodies and making them 
really representative. Bills about village panchayats 
were also on the anvil. Then came the Government of 
India Act 1919, under which local self-government was 
placed in the group of departments transferred to the 
charge of ministers principally responsible to the people 
through their representatives in enlarged legislative 
councils armed with supreme powers with regard to pure- 
ly provincial matters. We have therefore been marking 
time from 1918, and shall continue to do so until the new 
constitution settles down to its work. In the meanwhile 
instructed public opinion should carefully reconsider 
what functions could be most beneficially assigned to 
village panchayats. In the isolation of the Indian village 

9 L. S. G. Resn„1915, § 37. It would be difficult to express greater 
hostility to the idea of reviving]|village panchayats as tribunals than was 
done by Sir Henry Maine — of all people — in a Memorandum to the Sec- 
retary of State in 1880, which is quoted by Mr. Matthai (pp 182-3), and 
deserves moat careful consideration by sentimental revivalists. 

10 "The area under a panchayat should normally be a village un- 
less villages are so closely connected that they may be treated as one" 
—L. S. G. Resn, 1918, § 23. 


from times immemorial down to the end of the third 
quarter of the last century, judicial decisions in petty 
matters had to be either obtained from some person or 
body within the village boundary, or the aggrieved parties 
had to go without them altogether. This isolation has gone 
never to return. A system of travelling arbitrators andhon- 
ourary magistrates could now be created,who could perform 
this function quite as cheaply and quickly and far more 
satisfactorily than lay panchayats, the members of which, 
moreover, could not always be free from the factions and 
party and caste feelings so frequent in villages. Again, 
it is the village environment that forces the witnesses 
cited and the parties themselves to tell the truth when 
solemnly adjured to do so : and the arbitrator or the 
magistrate coming down to the village to hold his court 
instead of calling up the parties and their witnesses to 
another place where he was holding it, would have the 
benefit of this circumstance as fully as it accrued to the 
panchayat of old or the patel or munsiff of recent 
times. Nor should it be feared that village panchayats 
would lack influence unless armed with judicial func- 
tions. Justice and security, however important, is 
after all a comparatively secondary matter. Far more 
^portant is the primary matter of winning a sub- 
sistence through honest intelligent well-directed toil. 
The castes of old were in India centres of vocational 
education and trade craft and industrial gilds, all in 
one, and they helped the individual in town and village 
throughout his life in his struggles to wrest a com-petence 
out of his surroundings. But their ability to per-form 
this service has come to an end or is about to do so, 
even in the remotest and most isolated villages, and the 
caste bond is itself fas? weakening. The Indian individual 
feels the loss and is groping after a more modern com- 
munal sentiment to hearten him, a more efficient collec- 
tive organisation to take him by the hand and steady and 


direct his faltering steps from the cradle to the grave. 
The village panchayats of Ancient India had not this 
primary function to perform as the castes were there al- 
ready to discharge it far more efficiently. But now new 
communal bodies of a more modern type are required to 
undertake it. If any concrete confirmation of this argu- 
ment was needed, we have it already in the rapid success, 
moral as well as material, of the co-operative move- 
ment, inevery locality lucky enough, to find and place 
at the centre of the society a man or two animated 
by the spirit of disinterested service and the con- 
scientious desire of securing equitable opportunities to 
all members alike. That is just the type of man who 
would make of village panchayats too an equal suc- 
cess. Only let us make our village panchayats the media 
not only for all sanitary advance in the village, but also 
for all economic, industrial, and educational advance. The 
Agriculture and the Co-operative Departments have al- 
ready evolved ideas, methods, processes, schemes, excel- 
lent not merely in an academic way, but ready to be 
applied at once and reduced to practice ; ideas, methods, 
processes and schemes which they want to spread broad- 
cast in order that the masses in their millions might reap 
the benefit. The Industries Department is being formed: 
let us hope it will from the outset begin its operations in 
three sections — Home Industries or Crafts ; Petty Indus- 
tries and Crafts requiring, say, six labourers at the most, 
in which a small motor might be used at option ; and 
Factory Industries. The Education Department, too, let 
us hope, will soon get out of its present grooves, and de- 
velop practical methods of vocational training in strict 
correspondence with local possibilities and requirements. 
And both departments, as soon as they have developed 
these things, will, let us hope, want at once extensive pro- 
paganda work to spread them broadcast. Our village 
panchayats and other local bodies superimposed upon 


them should be so constituted as to make of them the 
proper media through which these and other nation-buil- 
ding departments could quickly and successfully trans- 
mit their enriching ideas to the villager in his cottage 

Mnkharji I pp. 623-737. 

Report, Decentralisation Commission, chs 18-20. 

J.Mattbfti, Village Government in British India. 



§ 58 Modern Education : The Beginnings. It is a 
historical fact that Ancient India from the period of Gau- 
tama Buddha and Mahavira Jina to that of Yuan Chw- 
ang was a well-educated country even by modern stan, 
dards, A knowledge of the three R's was widespread- 
vocational training End apprenticeship were universal, 
and the country was dotted over with centres of higher 
learning thought and culture carrying on a living inter- 
pretation and continuously fresh adaptation of the rich 
legacy of former generations. Breakdowns recurred, no 
doubt, at irregular intervals, whenever famines, epidemic 
diseases, or wars and invasions devastated particular 
regions, but these were local in extent and temporary 
in their effects, and education and culture revived as 
the locality got over such calamities. The strength of 
the system lay in its being a spontaneous social activity 
quite independent of the State and its. varying fortunes ? 


even while receiving munificent aid from innumerable 
rajas, ranis, and high officials, since the donations came 
from them in their individual capacity, prompted by 
reverence, or a sense of what they owed to particular 
localities, or foundations, or gurus ( ), or a desire for the 
good of their souls. No culture, however, can live on 
through the centuries unless it can also develop a stable self- 
sufficient political system, strong enough for defence against 
attacks from without, and elastic enough to allow ample 
latitude for the play of individual freedom within. And 
failing in the first, Hindu society instinctively turned to the 
only other alternative of strengthening the social 
framework, until individual freedom and individual initia- 
tive — the other indispensable requisite— came to be pro- 
gressively sacrificed through imperceptible but cumulative 
stages. Hindu culture was thus weakening internally 
when the Muhammadan period of our history began, 
accelerating the decay. The forces of revival had little 
chance until Akbar established his dynasty, and after 
little more than a century anarchy got the upper hand 
again, until the East India Company could attempt a re- 
construction, starting from the nuclear points of Calcutta, 
Madras and Bombay. 

The motives of the pioneers were rather mixed. 
There was sound policy in trying to win the intellectual 
classes over to the side of the conqueror, by patro- 
nising their best representatives and harnessing them 
to a revival of the learning they valued so highly. 
The law courts needed learned pundits and moulvis 
whose rulings the people would respect in proportion to 
their learning. ! Devout missionaries and earnest-minded 

1. The CalcuttaMadrassa founded in October 1780 and maintained 
for the first few months by Warren Hastings at his own expense, was a 
Persian and Arabic institution specialising in Muhammadan law. It 
had a chequered career for over forty years before an English class 
was added to it. The Benares Sasnkrit College, founded by Jonathan 
Duncan in 1792, was similarly an institution for Sanskrit learning. 
Here, too, English was not taught before 1827. The Hindu Sanskrit 
College at Calcutta, founded in 1824, had a wider aim: the cultivation 
of Hindu (Sanskrit) literature and the gradual diffusion of European 
knowhdge through the medium of Sanskrit. This latter aUempt, 
however, did not succeed. Colleges were also established in the 
twenties at Agra and Dehli, in which Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit and 
Hindi were taught. The Royal Asiatic Society was founded at Calcutta 
by Colebrooke in 1822. 


leaders of opinion like Wilberforce unci Charles Grant 
wanted to spread Christianity, or at any rate, they wanted 
the benighted and superstitious heathen to have a chance 
of seeing for himself what Christianity was, hoping from it 
the best and the most far-reaching results. 2 The admini- 
stration had to be cheapened as well as improved, larger 
numbers had to be employed in various capacities ; this 
was not possible without an increasing use of indigenous 
agency; and the necessary amount of intregrity, loyalty, 
intelligence and knowledge could only be obtained at 
reasonable rates by a suitable system of education. The 
language of the courts and of official business had to be 
changed, and this could not be accomplished without the 
creation of a growing class with a working knowledge 
of English. A practical training in the medical and 
engineering sciences was inspired by motives of pure 
philanthropy as well as by a recognition of their obvious 
utility. And there was also the faith in the cultivation of 
the intellectual faculties and the spread of positive 
knowledge for its own sake. Darkness and superstitions 
were held to be the greatest enemies of the population 
and the greatest dangers to the stability of English rule 
in India, and it was realised that they could only be re- 
moved very gradually by the diffusion of a rational edu- 
cation. Equally mixed were the motives of the people 
the living material upon whom the experiment was tried, 
who seized the widening opportunities offered to them in 
ever increasing numbers. Some applied themselves to the 
new subjects for the same reasons that their forefathers 

2. In the discussions leading up to the Charter Act of 1793 they 
succeeded in persuading the house of commons to adopt a resolution 
emphasizing the duty of the state "to promote by all just and prudent 
means the interests and happiness of the inhabitants of the British 
dominions in India; and that for these ends, such measures ought to be 
adopted as may gradually tend to their advancement in useful know- 
ledge and to their religious and moral improvement". But the Com- 
pany through their spokesmen in the house and in their own Courts 
opposed the contemplated departure violently and persistently, and the 
idea had to be dropped on that occasion. — Mahmud, p. 229, 


for centuries past had applied themselves to the old; study 
was their traditional occupation, their historical dharma 
(\nr), the raison d'etre of their life and their place in the 
social whole. Others studied with a view to the worldly 
benefits they personally expected in return. And 
almost from the first, there were a*lso others, rare spirits 
with a vision and a faith, of whom Raja Rammohan Roy 
was the great prototype. These were the first patriots of 
modern India. They saw their dear motherland feeble, 
cursed with many ills, humiliated. And they saw in the 
conqueror and in the West whence he came, the God- 
appointed agent to restore ner to better days. They sat 
at the feet of England and the West as admiring disciples 
determined to acquire from the Guru (j^) tn e secrets of 
economic revival, intellectual activity, moral vigour, social 
health, political power, and religious purity. The advance 
of India would have been much quicker and far better 
balanced if such men had appeared amongst Muham- 
madans also from the first. And some of the officers of 
the Company did obtain favourable opinions from one or two 
liberal moulvis recommending English education to their 
co-religionists. 3 But the community as a whole hung back 
suspecting the new departure, and after the Mutiny, their 
attitude towards the new order was, naturally perhaps but 
all the same very unfortunately, tinged with a bitterness 
which did not quite fade away for another two decades. 

Official missionary and private efforts, individual 
and collective, have jointly contributed to the growth and 
evolution of our complex educational system. All three 
strands in the historical web are important, each has dis- 

3. "The Musalman subjects of the Government are much more 
jealous of innovation. ..When it was first proposed to teach them 
English they consulted their oracle of the day, Azizuddin of Dehli, as to 
whether it was sinful to yield to the innovation, He gave them a most 
■ensible answer..." H. T. Prinsep's Note on Macaulay's Minute 
{H. Sharp p. 129). 


tinctive features, each agency has been inspired by ideals 
which have demanded more and more effort at every stage 
of accomplishment, and perhaps the most valuable lesson 
the history of modern education in India has to teach is 
that all three are still as indispensable as they were in the 
dawn of small and tentative beginnings at the opening of 
the nineteenth century. To educate a subcontinent like 
India means an ever-increasing outlay on a vast scale, 
the bulk of which must come out of state treasuries, local, 
provincial and central. Without a rigid anatomy of struc- 
tural uniformity and system, moreover, the education of 
our diverse nationalities would soon cease to be animated 
by a common spirit, and state agency, legislative and 
administrative, is the most natural source from which to 
derive this. The distinctive merits of missionary agency 
are freedom from the traditional limitations of the Indian 
outlook, Hindu and Moslem, an appreciation of the dig- 
nity of man as man, and a living grasp of the stern 
economic realities of Indian existence. The official is 
almost always conscious of being on a higher rung him- 
self, and patronisingly bends down and extends his hand 
to pull up the Indian from where he is. The missionary, 
on the other hand, who is the- true disciple of his Master, 
goes among the people, becomes one of themselves, shares 
their life and work, and the children come to him because 
of his greater gentleness and love, and gradually they 
learn from him how to live and work better than their 
own elders are doing. Missionary education is but a part, 
though an integral part, of the larger missionary endea- 
vour to recast the whole life of the individual into a higher 
mould. Missionaries in Indian education are thus the 
pioneers and path-finders ; they are the experimenters 
in our educational laboratory. Their failures are many, 
some even grotesque, but these do not matter ; while 
every success they achieve, however heterodox the me- 
thods, is so much pure gain. 4 It is also pure gain for 


Indian undergraduates to come into touch with as many 
rarieties of Western culture as possible, and amongst the 
professors at missionary colleges we sometimes get hum- 
anists altogether different in stamp and lustre from the 
professors with equal or higher attainments at the Govern- 
ment institutions. The distinctive features of the third 
educational agency working in our midst have so far been 
its faith, imitativeness, and docility. Large and increas- 
ing numbers of Indian educationists have worked in the 
fields of official and missionary agency as subordinates of 
official and missionary superiors, making it their highest 
ambition to reproduce to perfection the best qualities of 
their superiors. Even in institutions nominally indepen- 
dent and indigenous the best masters have formed them- 
selves consciously or unconsciously on some model 
or models. Really independent Indian endeavour has 
emerged rather late in our educational history and it is 
not yet possible for the impartial student to form any 
opinion about it. Sir Syed Ahmad' s High School and 
College at Aligarh had for its initial aim the provision 
of a public school and a residential college of the 
English 'gentleman'-ly type for the Muhammadan youth. « 
Mrs. Besant's Central Hindu College, Benares, also at- 
tempted a combination of religious and modern educa- 
tion of the highest type, through the agency of Englishmen 

4. See D. J. Fleming ; Schools with a message; Village Education 
in India (Report of a missionary commission composed of the Rev. A. 
G. Fraser, K. T. Paul, and others); accounts of the Salvation Army 
attempts to reclaim criminal tribes, and similar literature; — to get some 
idea of the varied and valuable work, in the highest sense educational* 
which missionaries are doing in Iudia to-day. 

5. Sir Syed Ahmad started collecting subscriptions, 1872; he won 
the enthusiastic support of Sir Salar Juog and the Stracheys almost 
from the first ; the institution began with 20 students in 1875 : the 
Viceroy laid the foundation stone on the 8th January, 1877. After 
forty three years of a career of expansion Sir Syed Ahmed's Anglo- 
Oriental College ha9 been transformed in 1920 into the Muhammadan 
University, Aligarh. 


and Indians working together on equal terms, and living 
all the twentyfour hours in intimate association with the 
boys and young men in residence. This institution deve- 
loped by 1915 into the Hindu University, Benares, mainly 
through the devoted efforts of Pundit Madanmohan Mala- 
viya and the generous support of a large number of Hindu 
Chiefs and merchant princes. One of its aims is to supply 
the highest and the most uptodate teaching in every 
branch of learning ; thus a College of Engineering was 
opened in 1919, and medicine, teaching, agriculture, com- 
merce and other subjects will be provided for in the near 
future.Institutions like those of the Deccan Education Socie- 
ty, Poona, and the schools and colleges of the Arya Samaj , 
in more than one province, generally accept the established 
courses, textbooks, examinations, rules and regulations of 
the education department and the university. Their aim 
is to extend education, rather than to create a new type of 
it ; they charge lower fees, obtain what gifts they can 
from private sources, and although relying principally 
upon these, have no objection to grants-in-aid. 6 Their 
one peculiarity is a purely Indian staff, a large num- 
ber of whom have patriotically pledged themselves to 
draw from the funds of the Society, or the Institu- 
tion only a living wage and to give in return 
the best working years of their lives. This, no 
doubt, makes not only for economy but also for great- 
er devotion on the part of the teacher and greater 

6. For the Arya Samaj institutions see Lala Lajpatrai : The A. S, t 
pp. 179-210. I have coupled these and the D. E. S. institutions together 
merely for brevity. Of course there are profound differences also bet- 
ween the two. Perhaps the most important is that the Arya Samaj 
educationists insist far more on the formation by their students u of 
sound and energetic habits by a regulated mode of living" {Op dtp. 182); 
in other words, the entire life of the student in these institutions is 
meant to be a deliberately regulated discipline. The Dayanand Anglo- 
Vddic College, Lahore, began with the revered Lala Hansraj as its first 
Principal in 1888. 


attachment between him and his pupils. But some of the 
best in this necessarily small band have been impelled by 
their patriotic feelings to divert their time and energies 
more or less to social work or journalism or politics. 
Take the most brilliant individual of the class, the late 
Mr. G. K. Gokhle, as an example. I do not mean to say 
that he should not have become a politician at all. My 
point is that his becoming a politician necessarily prevent- 
ed him from rising to his full height as an educationist 
and a man of learning. Research, scholarship, teaching is 
a jealous mistress and brooks no rival. Perhaps, as the 
country settles down, the best Indian educationists will 
themselves realise that education as a profession is fully 
worthy of the uttermost devotion possible to a man. 
Living in the busy hum of towns and in the ebb and flow 
of their swirling currents, they must yet lead their own 
lives dedicated to their science or sciences and their 
sudents. The acharyas (srpsrTsf) of the Arya Samaj Guru- 
kulas fe^py) find this counsel easy to accept because 
they take themselves and their pupils quite out of the 
world of to-day to live by themselves in a world apart. 
And the type of education these revivalists seek to create 
is only a pale imitation of what they think was the type 
t hat prevailed in the heroic age of Ancient India. They 
are imitators no less than all the other Indian education- 
ists so far described, their only distinction being that they 
are also visionaries led astray by their vision. The 
strength that Young India needs to rise to its full height 
in the modern world is a strength that can only be won in 
and through the modern world itself, and not at all by 
running away from it to primeval forests, musty texts, and 
the ideals and rituals of days gone by. The only origi- 
nality so far shown by Indian educationists is in the 
institutions founded and patiently and reverently being 
built up by two men of transcendent genius, Sir Jagadish 
Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore, Both institu- 


tions are still in their foundations. And genius, of course, 
is a law unto itself. What one desiderates for Indian 
education is that Indian educationists and the ethos of 
the Indian people should begin to play upon it freely and 
fashion it anew ; the best to be found anywhere in the 
world should be taken, but instead of being merely copied 
it should be bodied forth in living forms under the 
Indian sky. 

Carey and Marshman reached Serampore in 1799, 
and began almost at once to start schools, establish a 
printing press, translate the Bible into the Indian verna- 
culars, and issue pamphlets and books. Missionary 
education, English vernacular and religious, was thus 
inaugurated. 7 Its growth was rapid. By 1815 there 
were twenty schools in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, 
and a similar number in Chinsura District. The Seram- 
pore College was opened in 1818, Dr. A. Duff's 8 institu- 
tion at Calcutta, the Church of Scotland's General Assem- 
bly's Institution, in 1830. J. Carey, Dr. Carey's son, 
opened schools at Ajmer in 1818, and had to be reproved 
(1822) for introducing the Bible (Hindi translation) there 
as a schoolbook. In the meanwhile, parliament had pass- 
ed the Charter Act of 1813, section 43 of which provided 

It shall be lawful for the Governor General in Council to direct that 
a sum not less than one lakh of rupees in each year shall be set apart 
and applied to the revival and improvement of literature and the 
encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction 
and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of 
the British territories in India; and any schools, public lectures, or 
other institutions, for the purposes aforesaid, which shall be founded 
in virtue of this Act, shall be governed by such regulations as may from 
time to time be made by the said Governor General in Council. 

7. Missionary schools had an ealier start in Madras. TheTanjore 
Resident, "seconded by the zealous exertions" of the Rev. Mr. Swartz 
started some schools, to which the Court of Directors made annual 
grants from 1787.— H. Sharp, pp. 3; 45; 194. 

8. One of the most influential personalities in the early history of 
Indian Education; see, for instance,' Sir V, Chirol, p. 209* 


The most important of the regulations related to the 
observance of strict religious neutrality. The missiona- 
ries tried all their authority influence and ingenuity to 
make even the government institutions places of Christian 
teaching and to retain subjects like the evidences of 
Christianity and books like Pilgrim s Progress in the exa- 
minations, on the results of which scholarships and certifi- 
cates were awarded and selections for government appoint- 
ments were made ; some of the most distinguished amongst 
them even argued, without much scruple, that purely secu- 
lar education would be demoralising to the pupil and a 
serious political danger to the Company. Some of the 
more serious-minded amongst the servants of the Company 
agreed with them to the extent of holding that British 
rule in India must end in transforming India into a 
Christian country, or at any rate that it must be pronounc- 
ed a failure unless that was the ultimate outcome. But 
even these men were resolved to keep Christian propa- 
ganda within the narrowest bounds and to exclude from 
the government educational institutions everything that 
Hindu or Moslem prejudice might suspect to have a pro- 
selytising tendency. The Bengal Government moved 
rather slowly at first. A School Book Society and a School 
Society had come into existence at Calcutta in 1817 and 
1819 respectively, and government began to help them 
from 1821. A Committee of Public Instruction was form- 
ed in 1823. Existing institutions were to be supported 
and strengthened, oriental learning and European science 
were to be encouraged, and new institutions " for instruc- 
tion in the learning of the East and of the West together" 9 
were to be established as far as possible. H. H. Wilson 
was the first secretary; a man of inexhaustible energy, 
who besides his work at the mint, and as secretary of the 
Asiatic Society, also helped the Hindu College actively as 

9. Holt Mackenzie's Note, 17-7-1823 (H. Sharp, p. 60), 


a teacher. This institution had come into existence in 
1817 through the joint efforts of Raja Rammohan Roy, 
David Hare, and Sir E. H. East the Chief Justice, "to 
instruct the sons of Hindus in the European and Asiatic 
languages and sciences," but especially in English. ,0 
Over a lakh was subscribed to start the institution and 
Government inspection and aid were accepted from 1 824. 
Another name that must be coupled with Rammohan 
Roy's in a history of the beginnings of English education 
in this country is that of Jayanarayan Ghosal of Benares, 
who made a donation of Rs. 20,000 and certain lands in 
1814, and petitioned government to establish from the 
proceeds a school where English, Persian, Hindustani, 
and Bengali might be taught. The school was started in 
1818, and seven years later the son of the founder gave to 
it another Rs. 20,000. " The Hindus, especially in Cal- 
cutta, wanted an education in English and in modern 
subjects, although it is not likely that many of their lead- 
ers would have endorsed Raja Rammohan Roy's condem- 
nation of the traditional Sanskrit learning as entirely 
useless. l2 The Court of Directors, too, had modified their 
views. In 1824 they wrote — 

" We apprehend that the plan of the institutions (Oriental institu- 
tions like the Madrasa, the Benares Sanskrit College and the Calcutta 
Sanskrit College) was fundamentally erroneous. 

The great end should not have been to teach Hindu learning or 
Muhammadan learning, but useful learning. No doubt Hindu media or 
Muhammadan media would have been proper to be employed, and 
Hindu and Muhammadan prejudices would have needed to be consulted, 

.10. This was the declared object of the founders — H, R. James, p. 
17. It was transformed into the I'residency College, Calcutta, in 1855. 

11. Mahmud, p. 26. 

12. See his memorial to Lord Amherst, 11-12-1823. Macaulay in 
his well-known minute, 2-2-1835, has taken one of his illustrations from 
this memorial. It is unfortunate that this particular minute of Macau- 
lay's should have obtained a celebrity out .'of all proportion to its in- 
trinsic merits or historical importance. But Macaulay really did valu- 
able work as Chairman of the Committee, see Trevelyan : Life and 
Letters, ch. 6 (pp. 98, popular edn.) 


while everything which was useful in Hindu and Muhammadan litera- 
ture it would have been proper to retain. In professing, on the other 
hand, to establish "purely oriental" seminaries, you bound yourselves 
to teach a great deal of what was frivolous, not a little of what was 
purely mischievous, and a small remainder, indeed, in which utility was 
in any way concerned. In the institutions which exist on a particular 
footing, alterations should not be introduced more rapidly than a due 
regard to existing interests and feelings will dictate ; at the same time 
that incessant endeavours should be used to supersede what is useless 
or worse in the present course of study, by what your better knowledge 
will recommend."* 3 

This despatch should have decided the question as 
to what type of institution Government were to establish, 
and what subjects of study they were to encourage. But 
of the Committee of Public Instruction, half the members 
were more conservative. Modern subjects they would 
only "engraft" upon oriental learning; they wanted San- 
skrit pundits and Muhammadan moulvis to learn modern 
subjects through the medium of Sanskrit and Arabic 
translations, and then to teach them to others through 
Sanskrit and Arabic. They were quite aware that this 
would mean very slow progress, but they were willing to 
wait, buoyed up by the conviction, which they held 
passionately, that theirs was the only right method of 
bringing about, in the fulness of time, a genuine and 
a glorious renascence in India. 14 It was against this view 

13. Despatch of 18-2-1824, condensed ( Mahmud, p. 80; H, Sharp, 
pp. 11-3 ). 

14. See in H, Sharp Prinsep's Note on Macaulay's Minute, and a 
later Minute by P. on the same subject ; also Meredith Townsend, Asia 
and Europe, pp. 323-329; &c. Bishop Heber describes in his Journal 
what he saw at the Benares Sanskrit College in 1824, where the pundit 
illustrating an astronomy lesson by the terrestrial globe said the North 
Pole was Mount Meru, the tortoise was under the South Pole, &c. 
This was "engrafting" in actual practice, and the bishop of course 
wondered why such "rubbish" should be taught at a government institu- 
tion. How twenty years earlier at the same College the pundits of that 
age deceived Captain Wilford, a zealous but rather credulous Sanskritist, 
might be still read at p. 172 of Hegel's Philosophy of History. 


that Macaulay wrote his one-sided and rhetorical but 
opportune minute. The position and reputation of the 
author made up for what it lacked in knowledge or cogency, 
taste or judgment, historical breadth or philosophical 
depth; and Lord W. Bentinck's government decided 
against the Orientalists and in favour of the Anglicists by 
their resolution of 7-3-1835, declaring "the great object 
of the British Government" to be "the promotion of 
European literature and science among the natives of 
India," but also deciding that no institution of native 
learning in existence was to be abolished "while the 
people availed themselves of the advantages it afforded," 
and that no individual teacher or student was to suffer 
any loss owing to this change in the educational policy 
of the State. 

In Bombay a Society for promoting the Education of 
the poor started two schools at the capital and one each 
at Surat, Broach and Thana in 1815. And soon after the 
Maratha territories were finally annexed, a Sanskrit College 
was opened on the 7th October 1821 at Poona, part of the 
Dakshina Fund of the Peshwas being assigned towards its 
maintenance. English classes were added from 1825, the 
institution was thrown open to all classes in 1837, deve- 
loped into a College in another twenty years, and obtained 
the name of the Deccan College a little later. 15 The 
Bombay Native School and School Book Society was cons- 
tituted in the same year as the Calcutta Committee, and 
on the retirement of Mountstuart Elphinstone Bombay 
citizens of all classes collected together a fund which 
amounted in a few years to over two lakhs, and requested 
government to accept it as a trust out of the proceeds of 
which three English professors of European languages 
arts and sciences were to be employed, to be known as the 

15. Origin of the Deccan College by B. K. T., in the Deccan College 
Quarterly, Vol. f 


Elphinstone Professors. The Court of Directors recom- 
mended that the project might be enlarged into something 
like the Hindu College of Calcutta. This was the begin- 
ning of the Elphinstone Institution, which grew by 1856 
into the Elphinstone College and the Elphinstone High 
School. Dr. John Wilson's school was started in 1834 and 
also grew into the Free General Assembly's High School 
and College a little later. Madras had a Committee of Public 
Instruction a little later than Calcutta and Bombay. Sir 
Thomas Munro laid stress upon improving the knowledge 
and increasing the numbers of teachers, and estimated 
that the male population of the Presidency would need 
twenty collectorate schools for Hindu boys and twenty 
for Muhammadan boys, and three hundred tahsil schools, 
single teacher institutions, the collectorate school teachers 
receiving Rs. 1 5 per month, and the tahsil school teachers 
Rs. 9 each. 16 This idea of extending primary education 
through the medium of the vernacular had the 
sympathy of the Directors as had the similar Bombay 
plan of having a vernacular school first in each princi- 
pal town and sudder station, and later on in the 
kasbas and larger villages. 17 But they pointed out to the 
Madras Government the more immediate need of and the 
far greater benefits to the people likely to accrue from 
institutions devoted principally to higher branches of 
knowledge, that might moreover begin immediately to 
supply an increasing "body of natives qualified to take a 
larger share and occupy higher situations in the civil 
administration. The measures for native education which 
have as yet been adopted or planned at your Presidency, 
have had no tendency to produce such persons." 18 
The central school for the training of teachers was 
accordingly turned into a High School in 1841 and grew 
later into the Presidency College. Pachaiyappas' institu- 
te Minute, 10-2-1826. 18. Despatch, 29-9-1830* 
17. Despatch, 18-2-1829. 


tion was: also started in 1841 out of an old endowment 
and developed into a college. St. Peter's College at 
Tanjore goes back historically to Swart/'s school at that 
place mentioned above. And a school started by Mr. 
Anderson in 1837 developed into the Madras Christian 
College and the Church of Scotland Missionary Institution. 
The comparative backwardness of Bombay and 
even of Madras did not retard the development of edu- 
cational policy. The Charter Act of 1833 increased the 
annual grant of Rs. one lakh to & one lakh. Act XXIX 
of 1837 abolished Persian as the court language, Lord 
Hardinge declared, as noted in an earlier chapter, that in 
the selection of Natives, under the Charter Act of 1833, 
for public employment, " preference shall be given' 
according to " degree of merit and attainment, " and the 
Council of Education found so many hundreds pressing 
for English education at the new institutions and acquir- 
ing such high proficiency therein, that the President 
proposed a central University at Calcutta, " armed with 
the powers of granting degrees in Arts, Science, Law, 
Medicine and Civil Engineering," and endowed with such 
privileges as were enjoyed by "the recently established 
University of London. " ,9 A system of Primary Educa- 
tion had also been created and actually established over 
an entire province by Mr. Thomason while he was Lieu- 
tenant Governor of the N. W. P. from 1843 to 1853. 20 

18. Despatch, 29-9-1830. 

19. In his petition to parliament (30-11-1852) Mr. Cameron also 
asked for a covenanted Education Service and 4l that one or more esta- 
blishments may be created at which the native youth of India may 
receive in England, without prejudice to their caste or religious feelings, 
such a secular education as may qualify them for admission into the 
Civil and Medical services of the East India Company" {Mahmud, p 82). 
If the second suggestion had been adopted, and if the Indian College or 
Colleges in England had succeeded in regularly supplying a number of 
Indians to the civil and other services from the beginning, this single 
factor might have completely altered the whole history of British India 
during the last seventy years. 

20. Lord Dalhousie stated in 1856 that these N. W. P. schools then 
numbered 3669— A Mills: India in 1858, p. 169. The idea of a land cess 
to finance primary education originated with Thomason. For a brief 
account of these schools see A. Howell : Ed' in J5r. India prior to 1854 
and in 1870-1, pp. 48-9. 



Thus the ground was prepared by half a century of ex- 
periments failures and advances, and the hour had come 
for consolidating the results, and tying up the types and 
ideas of proved utility into a graduated system. This 
was accomplished by Sir Charles Wood's despatch of the 
nineteenth July, 1854. The Committees and Councils of 
education were to be replaced by an Education Depart- 
ment at each presidency under a single head. Universities 
were to be established for each of the presidencies. Gov- 
ernment Colleges, High Schools, Middle Schools and 
Primary Schools were to be systematically increased. 
The vernaculars were to be the media of instruction in 
the primary and lower branches. Scholarships were to be 
multiplied and spread over the entire field in such a manner 
as to enable talent to ascend the ladder of education 
up to the highest institutions. Central training colleges 
were to provide trained teachers to institutions of every 
grade. The institutions of private persons or bodies, in- 
cluding missionaries, were to receive grants-in-aid, provid- 
ed that they were under efficient management, gave a 
good secular education, charged fees, however small, and 
accepted Government inspection. Female education, 
recently started by Lord Dalhousie at Calcutta, was to 
receive " the frank and cordial support of Government as 
it would impart a far greater proportional impulse to the 
educational and moral tone of the people than the educa- 
tion of men. " 21 And, finally, the spread of education was 
to be pushed on by government officers in every district 
taking an active and continuous interest in the institu- 
tions within their charge. 

Syed Mahmud: History of English Education in India, chs 1 — IT. 
H. Sharp: Selections from Educational Records, Pt. I. 
H. R. James: Education and Statesmanship in India, chsl — 6. 
i. Ramsay Macdonald: Government of India, ch. 13. 

23. Gazetteer IV p 431, 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 355 

§ So. Education, 1854 t° I 9 I 9- The history of 
Indian Education from 1854 onwards need not be noticed 
in detail. It took the government and non-missionary 
agencies some years to overtake and leave behind the 
missionary institutions in the number of students they 
educated ; but the missionaries have all along followed the 
policy of breaking new ground, they have led the way in 
virgin areas and unworked layers of the population and 
new types of educational endeavour, so that the mere 
statistics cannot do justice to the character and magnitude 
of their service. Many of the new individuals they educat- 
ed and humanised were not merely so many units added 
to the total ; they were new candles lit in masses of dark- 
ness which light had never before invaded. The educa- 
tion departments each under a Director of Public Instruc. 
tion with Professors of Colleges, Head Masters of High 
Schools, Inspectors of schools, and subordinates, were 
organised all over British India in about twelve years- 
The Universities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were 
constituted in 1857, ' Colleges were opened at Dehli and 
Lahore in 1864, an Anjuman-i~Punjab was formed the 
next year, and the Punjab University was incorporated 
by Act XIX of 1882 (October 5th), which recognised 
study and examination in certain branches through the 
medium of Arabic, Persian, and Sanskrit, and granted to 
such students suitable degrees corresponding to the B. A. 
and M. a. of the ordinary courses, in which study and 
examination were through English, as in the older univer- 
sities. The Allahabad University followed five years 
later (September 23rd, Act XVII J of 1887). The advance 
in primary education was very slow at first. The despatch 
of 1859 recognised that private effort was not likely to do 
much in this section of the field, and a cess on the land 
to be collected along with the land-revenue and expended 
on primary schools in the locality, was recommended. 2 

1. Acts II (Calcutta, January 24th), XII (July 18th, Bombay), and 
XXVII (September 9th, Madras) of 1857. 

2. Moral and Material Progress Report, 1882-3, p 318. 


Acts authorising such land cesses in aid of primary educa- 
tion were in consequence passed during the sixties, and 
from the seventies onwards with the growth of the munici- 
palities and district boards, the provision of primary insti- 
tutions in town and village was one of the important fun- 
ctions handed over to them The number of pupils in 
these schools increased from two lakhs in 1860 to five and 
one-sixth lakhs in 1870 and to over twentyone* lakhs and 
a half in 1881. Out of these as well as all later primary 
schools figures a serious deduction has unfortunately 
always to be made, for seventy five per cent or more are 
always in the two lowest classes who do not go higher at 
all, and at least one half of these relapse into illiteracy 
soon after leaving the schools to which they never took 
very kindly even while there. 1 Two other factors have 
also to be borne in mind in order that this increase, such 
as it was, can be viewed in a proper perspective ; the first 
is the growth of the population, and the second is the 
rapid decline and almost entire destruction of the indigen- 
ous schools, tols, makhtabs, &c, which had been in exist- 
ence in numbers upto 1860 and were fast disappearing by 
1880. The progress in secondary education was more 
substantial. The numbers attending these institu- 
tions grew from twenty-three thousand in 1860 to 
two lakhs and six thousand in 1870, and sixteen 
thousand were added to the total by 1880. Nor should it 
be supposed that here too the wastage was high. Wastage 
there always is and always will be in every system of 
education, but the boys-or rather men 4 — who left at vari- 

3. Seventh Quinquennial Review of the Progress of Education in 
India (1912-17), p 122; "a large percentage of parents value the school 
mainly as a creche..." — Diarchy, p. 298; &c. 

4, The average of age in the various high school classes was high 
in the beginning and fell only slowly. Even upto 1880-5 there were 
men of over thirty joining the Entrance Class of High Schools; men who 
had left off school and worked in some department until they could get 
a year's leave to try and pass the Entrance Examination, so that they 
could rejoin with improved prospects, 

Education, 1854 to 1919 357 

ous stages without finishing the course and passing 
through the gateway of the entrance examination into 
colleges, also proved themselves in later life fairly able to 
perform the work they found to their hand in the educa- 
tional, judicial, revenue, public works, post, railways and 
other departments, or as lawyers, or in various other 
walks of life. There was a growing demand for intelligent 
reliable and plodding men with some knowledge of Eng- 
lish which they could improve according to their opportuni- 
ties, arnd many of those who left their school course un- 
finished did so because they happened to see openings 
which they were glad to seize. We must not judge of the 
period upto 1880 by what we have seen in the later 
decades. Even more valuable was the progress in Col- 
legiate Education. From 1857 to 1881 the universities 
passed out 3,284 B. A.'s and 536 M. A.'s 5 Calcutta led, 
Madras had shot ahead of Bombay, and the other provinc- 
es were left far behind. The quality too was far from 
uniform. The Calcutta and Madras Colleges had already 
begun to suffer from the evil of congestion, nor does it 
appear that they had succeeded in securing such a large 
proportion of vivifying personalities on their staff in suc- 
cession as had the Bombay Colleges. But whatever the re- 
lative differences between the provinces and the univer- 
sities, differences difficult to estimate, these graduates as 
a whole rendered invaluable services to the country 
during their generation. The advance in vernacular 
literatures and Indian journalism, the initiation of social 
reform and the creation of an intellectual atmosphere in 
which integrity and a sense of public duty were assigned 
a higher place than in the degraded traditions inherited 
from the downfall of the Mogul Empire, the habit of collec- 
tive political action on constitutional lines, the creation 
and development of All-India conferences, in one word, 
much of what we mean by the modern progress of India 

5. Moral and Mat. Progress Report, 1882-3, p 329 


during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, was the 
handiwork of this small body of men. The ideals seen 
from afar by Raja Rammohan Roy's generation, this 
second generation of Indian patriots brought by their 
exertions and sacrifices within the range of practical en- 
deavour, and they were in turn the begetters of the third 
generation of nationalists, irreconcileables, and anarchists. 

At the beginning of the next twentyfive years of our 
educational history stands the Education Commission 
appointed by Lord Ripon, with Sir W. W. Hunter as 
president. The recommendations of the Commission have 
been variously judged. We now see that their contem- 
poraries expected too much from them, that it was a mistake 
to appoint a large ostentatious commission whose labours 
and inquiries were only limited to a part of the entire 
field of education, and that their recommendations, such as 
they were, were not fully carried out anywhere, or uniformly 
in all the provinces. They saw the congestion already 
beginning in colleges and high schools. They saw that 
high school education had not sufficiently advanced in the 
last decade. They could not help noticing that the quali- 
ty too was falling off. Nor were the funds available for 
education unlimited. In fact, the fat years were gone, the 
lean years were upon us, the army needed additions, the 
services needed better pay and larger numbers, and the 
fall in silver meant a drain growing at an enormous rate. 
Any increase in the education budget at a rate higher 
than in the past was quite out of the question. What 
then was the best possible distribution of the funds likely 
to be available ? This was the further limitation, not set 
down in so many words but not the less clearly recognis- 
ed, of the Commission's inquiry. Nor was this all. The 
minds of the ruling aristocracy who alone were responsible 
for India and who held India in the hollow of their hands, 
were also made up on two other fundamentals. The first 
was that primary education must be extended much more 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 35$ 

quickly. What they felt most keenly was that the poor 
beast of an agriculturist must be made a man of somehow, 
that lie must be saved from the wily moneylender and not 
allowed to fall into the hands of the not less wily lawyer. 
Indians might not relish this way of putting it, but the 
elevation of the ryot is undoubtedly a worthy object, 
and it is also obvious that not much can be accomplished 
in this direction without a proper system of primary edu- 
cation spread all over the land as quickly as possible, by 
means of teachers, male and female, properly trained for 
their difficult job of winning the maximum of results in 
the minimum of time. The other fundamental as to 
which the ruling aristocracy were also unanimous was 
that the colleges and high schools already in existence 
needed a much larger leaven of Englishmen, and moreover 
the Englishmen already there had reasons to be dissatis- 
fied with their pay and status, so that every Englishman 
in the department was going to cost much more than in 
the past. 6 Thus the changes in po licy r esulting from th e 

6l The problem was not confined to the education department. The 
Civil Service had the same difficulty with all the other departments also. 
A small aristocracy, an exclusive caste, must hav© perfect equality 
amongst its own members ; but on the other hand an administrative 
system must have a hierarchy of departments and further gradations 
of status and emoluments within each department. It is on this rock 
that aristocracies, however strong and well-knit, have always split. 
They have always fought hard, fought inch by inch, and delayed the 
day of their extinction by every conceivable device. Exchange compen- 
sation allowance, and a rearrangement of the departments into three 
grades instead of two — imperial, provincial, and subordinate, instead of 
superior and inferior — were the devices adopted, though it must be ad- 
mitted to their credit, with great reluctance. But this did not solve the 
problem of placating the Englishman outside the charmed circle of the 
civil service, and it created the worse problem of placing the Indian, 
however deserving, lower than every Englishman. Indians in the superi- 
or posts went on increasing ; their qualifications went on improving. 
Indians with English University qualifications went on multiplying. 
These last the Englishmen would not have as their equals in the im- 
perial services, they themselves did not care to be in the provincial ser- 
vices and be the inferiors of many Englishmen who wore not their equals 
in qualifications, and thus the system broke down at length. The Is- 
lington Commission and the Montagu-Chelmsford Report registered 
this breakdown and made suggestions for the future, more or less liberal, 
which are in the course of being carried out. — For the education depart- 
ment in particular see the discussion in Sir V. Chirol, p. 233 and H. 
R. James, pp, 115-7. It is curious to note how both authors see the 
impossibility of equalising the status and emoluments of professors and 
civilians, and yet seek some undiscoverable method by which they could 
nevertheless be equalised. The professor worth his salt has his 
own status in literature, in learning, in the estimate of his 
students, and in the joyful absorption of congenial pursuits. The 
professor, on the other hand, who falls between the two stools of the 
professorial 'chair' and 'society,' has simply missed his vocation, and 
whatever hii pay has no status whatsoever. 


Commission and their Report can be summed up very 
briefly. (1) Government undertook to extend primary 
education as quickly as possible and to treat it as having 
the first claim upon such resources as were available for 
education. (2) Such Government high schools and col- 
leges as were already in existence were to be maintained 
with improved staff and equipment as model institutions. 
(3) But the extension of these superior grades of educa- 
tion was to be left more and more to private enterprise. 
It was even hoped that self-help would develop amongst 
the people to such an extent that some of the government 
institutions might themselves come to oe handed over to 
private management, at least in some localities, without 
any loss to education. (4) Government inspection and 
advice were to continue, and self-help amongst the people 
in educational matters was to be fostered by more liberal 
grants-in-aid, on principles reducing government inter- 
ference and influence to a minimum. It followed that 
the efficiency of these institutions and the amount of 
their grant were to be measured by independent stand- 
ards, and this necessarily led to a system of payment by 
results. (5) Lastly, the increasing congestion in colleges 
was sought to be remedied by a new examination at the 
end of the high school course, in which there were some 
subjects of practical rather than academical value. It was 
also felt that university education was too high an aim for 
the great majority of high school boys, that too many 
academics were not a giin to the country either, and that 
the high schools should themselves fit the mass of average 
students for life 7 rather than for at least four years more 
in the pursuit of a degree. It was argued that the colleges 
and high schools would themselves gain considerably by 

7. The discussion as to the moral value of the school, how It was 
lobe improved and intensified, &c, thus begau in all its ramifications at 
the Commission, they reported upon it at length, and it has gone on and 
on and on ever since: noreason, too, why it ever should come to an end. 

EDUCATION, 1354 TO 1919 361 

being relieved in this manner of crowds who were there 
merely as the helpless victims of a faulty system, which 
provided no alternative courses either for training the 
faculties or for bettering one's status and prospects in life. 
These views and aims were perfectly sound, and :if a 
system of agricultural, technical and commercial education 
had been evolved providing alternatives suited to loca^ 
requirements for the last two or three years of the high 
school course, after a period of struggle which every new 
departure has necessarily to face unti/ people see the re- 
sults for themselves and appreciate their value, the suc- 
cessful types of such institutions could have been spread 
wherever wanted, and private enterprise would have 
supplemented state action by creating similar institutions 
with further local adaptations. Moreover, if such institu- 
tions had come into existence in the eighties, the following 
decades of increasing economic stringency and unrest 
were just the period during which they could have grown 
to their full stature, and our entire system of education 
could have been purged of its over-literary and unpracti- 
cal character, a defect of which the seriousness is to be 
judged in proportion to the poverty and educational tra- 
ditions of a country. But the opportunity was missed- 
Only a new examination was instituted; no proper arrange- 
ments were made for a long time even to prepare the 
students for the new subjects ; and the creation of new 
types of high schools as alternatives to the literary type 
first in the field, is a problem no easier of solution to-day 
than when it should first have been tackled. 

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century 
the students in primary schools increased from nearly 
twentytwo lakhs in 1881 to a little over thirtytwo lakhs in 
1901 ; out of these the students in the upper division or 
the last two classes of the schools were only four and six 
lakhs respectively. The number of students in public se- 
condary schools increased from 222000 to a little under 



623000; that in Arts, Oriental, and Professional Colleges 
from a little under 7600 to over thrice the number or 
23000; and the total public expenditure on education 
rose from a little under Rs. 1-9 crores in 1881 to 
a little over Rs. 4 crores in the latter year. 
The advance in primary education was not a* 
all satisfactory. The rate of increase improved only 
slightly during the next decade, and it was with the object 
of bringing public opinion to bear upon government and 
thus forcing the pace rather than with any hope of imme- 
diate success that G. K. Gokhle proposed in 1910 to the 
recently reformed Imperial Legislative Council that a 
Commission be appointed to frame a definite scheme for 
making a beginning in the direction of making elementary 
education free and compulsory in British India. And he 
followed this up the next year by his Elementary Educa- 
tion Bill. Mr. Orange had remarked in his Fifth Quin- 
quennial Review (1902-1906) that on the assumption that 
there were no increase in the population, "even at the rate 
of increase that had taken place in the last five yearsj 
several generations would elapse before all the boys of 
school-age were in school." Gokhle quoted this and the 
experience of every country that ignorance and illiteracy 
it was altogether impossible to remove without compulsion, 
and he also cited the recommendation of the Hunter Com- 
mission that "an attempt be made to secure the fullest 
possible provision for an expansion of primary education 
by legislation suited to the circumstances of each province." 
He calculated, on the basis of a four years' course, 
that about one-fourth of the boys of school-age were in 
school already, and as the cost was over a crore and one- 
third, the total cost of bringing every boy into school 
would be approximately Rs. five crores and a half. Mak- 
ing another calculation at the rate of Rs. five per boy, he 
showed on the census figures for 1911, that with every 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 363 

one of the 12^ million boys of school-age at school, the 
cost could not exceed Rs. six crores and a quarter. But 
he wanted to spread the advance over a number of years 
and it was an integral part of his scheme that a third of the 
burden was to be borne, as in Scotland, by local bodies. 
To make a beginning at once in selected areas, i. e. areas 
already having one-third or more of the boys of school-age 
at school — the proportion to be fixed by the Government of 
India; to leave the initiative to the local bodies; and to 
arm the local government with the power of restraining 
such of them as were over-zealous;-these were the fun- 
damental ideas of Gokhle's scheme. 8 The discussion thus 
raised and the definite demand thus made, had the rare 
merit, like some other demands of Gokhle's, of being in 
the nick of time. The resolution he proposed was follow- 
ed by the elevation of Education into a principal charge 
for a member of the Viceroy's Executive Council ; the intro- 
duction of his Bill was followed by H. I. M. George V's 
visit to India, and in the Royal grants announced at the 
Dehli Durbar the pride of place was accorded to primary 
education : 

"Humbly and dutifully submissive to His Most 
Gracious Majesty's will and pleasure, the Government of 
India have resolved, with the approval of His Imperial 
Majesty's Secretary of State, to acknowledge the predomi- 
nant claims of educational advancement on the resources 
of the Indian Empire, and have decided in recognition of 
a very commendable demand to set themselves to making 
education in India as accessible and wide as possible. 
With this purpose they propose to devote at onee fifty 
lakhs to the promotion of truly popular education, and 
it is the firm intention of Government to add to the grant 
now announced further grants in future years on a gene- 
rous scale." 9 

8. Speeches pp. 699-804, 


The improvement in teachers, their pay and training, 
in schools, and in the number of institutions and of stu- 
dents, advanced at a brisker pace with the steady ex- 
pansion of the budget provision for primary education. 
Gokhle had taken the rate of increase in the number of 
boys and girls at school at 92O00 per year for the first ten 
j years of the century, and at 120,000 boys per year for the 
'latter half of the period. 10 The accelerated increase dur- 
ing the seven years before the Great War was at the rate 
of 192,000 per year ; ,! and the acceleration has been fairly 
maintained since, though not uniformly in all provinces- 
Most important of all, one province after another has been 
making primary education for boys compulsory by legisla- 
tion, mainly on the lines chalked out in such a masterly 
manner by Gokhle's forethought. An argument in favour- 
of compulsion that no one thought of during the discu s 
sions sketched above is now receiving its due weight : the 
bulk of the pupils never advance beyond the lower primary 
stage, and naturally relapse into illiteracy soon after leaving 
school; the only way to make their literacy permanent is 
to keep them at school, by legislation, for at least four 
years, otherwise all the effort expended upon them is as 
good as lost to the country. The Primary Education Acts 
in Bombay, the Punjab, Bengal, U. P., and Behar and 
Orissa came into effect between February 1918 and Febru- 
ary 1919, the C. P. and Madras Acts are more recent. The 
Bombay and U. P. Acts apply to municipalities only, while 
the others apply to district boards also.' 2 The main diffl- 

9. liberty p 468. Gokhle had argued that his proposals only 
meant a continuous annual addition of 40 lakhs {Speeches p 774). The 
Government had to do better than that since they had argued— better 
teachers, better schools, better type of education first, then compulsion; 
Us. 5 per head, moreover, a serious underestimate; it would be nearer 
Rs. 10 than Rs. 5; &c. 

10. Speeches, pp 764 and 803. 

11. Indian Education in 1915-16 (Bureau of Education Annual 
Publication), p 15. 

12. India Education -in J "J /9-,W,? pp. 11-13; India in 1920 t pp. 164- 
170, The Punjab, Behar and Orissa and Bengal A.cts apply only to boys 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 365 

culties to a rapid advance appear to be three. I The 
financial difficulty. It is not necessary to add anything 
on this point to what has been said already. II Really 
competent teachers for boys' schools, girls' schools, and for 
whatever devices might be employed for adult education. 
What emoluments they should be given so that men and 
women of the right stamp would be attracted in sufficient 
numbers and make the occupation a labour of love for life, 
is a part of the first or the financial difficulty. But what 
large numbers are needed and how serious the deficit is 
at present, may be &een from the following brief state- 
ment about U. P. : — 

Vernacular Boy's Schools : Demand. — The teachers numbered (1917) 
24,000; 11,000 trained. Wastage due to death, retirement etc., annually 
1400. To provide for expansion, 1000 new teachers would be annually 
required. The annual demand thus =2400. 

Supply. — At present 300 from Normal Schools and 1630 from Train- 
ing Classes. 

Vernacular Girls' Schools: Demand. — The teachers numbered (1917) 
1,896; 240 trained. Wastage higher than in the case of men. To replace 
wastage, 190 would be annually required. 

Supply.— At present total enrolment in training classes, 150; the 
number who passed the final (second year's) examination, 35 only's. 

Ill The remaining difficulty is the creation of a 
really suitable type of school and curriculum for' village 
populations. It almost looks as if we might not succeed 
if we make educating the boy and the girl of school-age 
the main line of advance. Adult education, night-schools 
festival and mela schools and demonstrations and lectures, 
periodical schools with concentrated work for six to nine 
weeks during the seasons of slack work, vocational 
schools with the three R's thrown in, wherever tried with 
proper equipment and by competent en.rgetic and zealous 
agents, have not only scored an immediate success, but 
have also shown capabilities far in excess of the concrete 
results actually attained. And they yield this further 
gain also-— every. adult man and woman thus educated 

13. Dyarchy,^. 313 condensed. 


would be with us and not against us in our efforts to 
educate his and her children. The best of them might 
moreover help the local primary schools as volunteers, in 
selected cases after a course of intensive training; and the 
variations we want to introduce into the city type of 
primary school in order to adapt it better to village condi- 
tions, can only be gradually worked out in this manner, by 
united and co-operative national efforts. As long as we 
persist instead in trying to impose them from above by 
the fiat of an all-wise department, education cannot enter 
into and transform the life of the masses, even though the 
proportion of literacy might go on improving. 

To pass on to secondary and collegiate education. 
The increase in government expenditure on these heads 
during the last two decades of the last century was most- 
ly on the staff, especially the English staff, the number 
and emoluments of the Indian staff were also improved 
to some extent from 1896 onwards, and on stone and 
mortar, i. e. , buildings. I may here insert an anecdote. 
When Lord Harris was retiring (1895), his friends and 
admirers had a meeting in Bombay, where laudatory 
speeches were made, Sir Ramkrishna Bhandarkar was 
one of the orators, and he showed statistically that the 
Bombay Government had done more for education under 
Lord Harris than under his immediate predecessor, Lord 
Reay. I asked a prominent educationist, an Englishman, 
to rede me the riddle. He said at once, " Don't you 
know ? Stone and mortar ! Sites and playgrounds and 
buildings !" And he recited in chronological order Lord 
Harris' principal grants to various institutions, with the 
money-value of each. 

With the policy of encouraging private enterprize 
recommended by the Hunter Commission, the increase in 
the numbers of the students meant growing congestion in 
the government institutions, and a multiplication of 
private institutions, amongst which proprietary high 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 367 

schools and colleges without any independent endowments, 
seeking only to make a profit out of fee-receipts, steadily 
increased, especially in the larger cities. The youths 
attending these institutions, flocking into the central cities 
from the mofussil, lived anyhow in surroundings highly 
injurious to health and habits. ,4 The Government or the 
education department had nothing to do with institutions 
which did not want grants ; the University Senates had no 
powers of or machinery for inspection ; and moreover, 
they too grew more and more unwieldy, unbusinesslike, 
unacademical. The evils grew fastest and manifested 
their worst aspects in Bengal, 15 but there is no doubt 
whatever that the quality of the education suffered, and 
the product turned out was distinctly inferior, intellec- 
tually and morally, in Madras and Bombay also. Crude 
ideas, shallowness of mind, ill-regulated characters, and 
'failed B. A.V who could get no employment simply be- 
cause they really were " unemployable " 16 were not the 
monopoly of Calcutta alone, though of course the evil 
there was of longer growth and far larger proportions. 
By 1902 there were nearly 1400 private institutions in 
Bengal, high schools and middle schools struggling to reach 
the coveted status of high schools, more than a third of 
the number receiving no grant from government. The 
salaries of the teachers ranged from Rs. 5 to Rs. 78, nor 
could their regular payment be always depended on. The 
number of college students in Bengal rose from 3,827 in 
1882 to 8150 in 1902, and government institutions contri- 
buted less than a fourth of the latter total, while un-aided 
institutions were responsible for over 4500. Any im- 
provement of the system necessarily required a certain 
amount of pulling down, and this Indian opinion resented. 

14. See, for instance, Dr. Garfield Williams' account cited in 
Indian Unrest at pp 217-219. 

15. Sir M. Sadler (Calcutta University) Commission Report, clr3 
§§ 38-61. 

16. Indian Unrest^ p 225. 


Nor did Lord Curzon realize — his very nature made it 
impossible for him to see — that to strive for a minimum of 
friction, heat and opposition, was in itself one of the high- 
est aims of statesmanship. The Indian Universities Com- 
mission, 1902, inspired to some extent by the reconstruction 
of the University of London in 1898, advised that Indian 
universities be made teaching bodies, their senates and 
syndicates be improved and strengthened, principals and 
professors be given greater weight in their counsels, 
that better equipment, staff, buildings, hostels and funds 
be insisted upon before any new institution was affiliated, 
and that affiliated institutions be inspected from time to 
time, and the level of efficiency throughout the jurisdic- 
tion of the university be raised in that manner, as also by 
the government strengthening its own model colleges, and 
the university improving its courses and its examinations. 
The Indian Universities Act (Act VIII of 1904, March 
24th) followed, the rules and regulations of the univer- 
sities were recast during the next two years, and govern- 
ment granted Rs. five lakhs per year for five years for the 
improvement of colleges and universities. Laiger grants 
followed, private munificence nobly seconded public efforts, 
and the fears widely entertained during the heat of the 
discussions from 1901 to 1905 that the sacrifice in quanti- 
ty was certain the gain in quality very doubtful, were 
soon dissipated. The number of students in Arts and 
professional colleges increased from over twentyfive 
thousand (including less than three hundred women) in 
1906, to nearly sixtysix thousand (including over twelve 
hundred women) in 1919. New universities came into 
existence at Mysore (1916), Patna (1917), and Dacca 
(1920), the Hindu University, Benares (1915), and the 
Moslem University, Aligarh (1920), have been already 
mentioned, and universities at Rangoon, Nagpur, Lucknow 
and Dehli are also certain to be incorporated in the near 
future. Looking at the subject as a whole, Indian educa- 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 369 

tion to-day needs rapid advances in the following directions. 
I The education of girls and women. Indian womanhood 
is not only uneducated, it is still living, so to say, in the 
Middle Ages. The higher deathrate of women within the 
child-bearing age-limits is itself an evil, the gravity of 
which cannot be exaggerated. Indian culture is dying, 
Indian family life is disintegrating, in and through the 
untimely death of mothers in cities and villages all over 
the land. Whatever other remedies are necessary and 
practicable, education is the one panacea, since the effe- 
ctiveness of all the other remedies will depend upon the 
intelligent co-operation of the women themselves. II 
The education of Muhammadans. The backwardness of 
Muhammadans in education upto about 1870 has been 
noticed and to some extent accounted for in the last sec- 
tion. "Pride of race, a memory of bygone superiority, 
religious fears, and a not unnatural attachment to the 
learning of Islam," 17 are the causes mentioned by Syed 
Mahmud. To these should be added the Mutiny and its 
after-math. In 1871 the percentage of Muhammadans to 
the total numbers at school and college was 14-5. It did 
not come up to 23-5 — the percentage of Muhammadans in 
the total population of British India — upto 1917. Their 
backwardness in higher education has had very serious 
consequences indeed, not only to themselves, but to 
Indian progress as a whole. Rammohun Roy, Keshab 
Chandra Sen, Swami Vivekanand, Rabindranath Tagore, 
Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, Sir P. C. Roy, Dr. Brijendra 
Nath Seal, Sarat Chandra Das, Ajurobind Ghosh the mystic, 
Pundit Bhagwanlal Indraji, Sir Ramkrishna Bhandarkar, 
Prof. Jadunath Sarkar, M.K. Gandhi— the spirit of rebel- 

17. P. 148. What the attitude of at least a section of the leading 
Muhammadans was towards the British Government even upto 1883'-4 
might be gathered from W. S. Blunt: India under Ripon, although the 
warm nature of the writer compels one to infer a certain amount of 
unconscious exaggeration. 


lion incarnate, spiritually hurling the individual conscien- 
ce at the heart of the modern state, asking ruler and ruled 
alike to repent and expiate : — these are all Hindu names ; 
where are the corresponding names of Muhammadans 
who have won a European reputation ? Or, confining our- 
selves to Indian reputations, have the Muhammadans 
borne one-fifth of the burden of advance in politics and 
journalism, religious purification and social reform, litera- 
ture education and science, industry and trade, which it 
is their right to claim and their privilege to undertake ? 
What is their position in the learned professions, or even 
in government and semi-government employment, in spite 
of every effort on the part of those in authority to give 
them preferential treatment ? What is their position even 
in Muhammadan Native States ? Syed Mahmud calculated 
that from 1858 to 1893 the Hindu and Muhammadan 
graduates numbered in Arts — 9715 and 399, in law-^3537 
and 110, in medicine — 1239 and 34, and in engineering — 
590 and 3, total 15,081 and 546 respectively. 18 The Muham- 
madans have considerablyjmproved their relative posi- 
tion in higher education since, but they still have a long 
distance to make up. Of the total number of nearly 
66,000 students in Arts and professional colleges in 1919, 
only 7345 were Muhammadans, 19 or only one-ninth, 
whereas they ought to have come up to one-fifth. Ill Far 
more provision is necessary than is as yet available for 
higher education in Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, 
and the applied branches of science which yield experts 
for industries and mining. IV Such facilities for higher 
education as have so far been created fall short of the 
highest stages. For every further advance we have to 
import " experts M from outside India. One assumption 
underlying all our institutions and endeavours appears to 

18. P. 185. The author studies the subject exhaustively, giving 
elaborate tables and diagrams. 

19, Indian Education in 1919-20, 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 371 

be that " Indian " necessarily means " secondrate. " A 
selfsufficing system of education right up to the highest 
stages ought to be our aim. Foreigners would now and 
then have to be imported, no doubt ; but we too should 
l<jarn to stand upon our own legs and import them, as 
France or America might import them, for very exception- 
al purposes and limited periods, and such men only as 
have won a more than local reputation. V Our whole 
system of education is too English, too imitatively, too 
slavishly English. English degrees are prized higher, far 
higher, than they are really worth ; English traditions, 
English conventions have here an exchange value higher 
even than in England, or the Colonies. India will never 
rise to her proper place in the scale of nations and in 
world-thought until we pass on from English to Europ- 
ean civilization, until leaving Oxford and Cambridge be- 
hind, we get into living touch with other great centres of 
European thought also. France and Germany seem as 
though designed, "whether by nature or by the uncons- 
cious hand of political history, to be half-willing half-re- 
luctant complements to each other and to England. 
English common sense, French lucidity, German idealism; 
English liberty, French equality, German organisation; 
English breadth, French exactitude, German detail "; * e 
now that we have Indian Ministers of Education, one hopes 
that in Indian education and Indian university life these 
various rays will be blended together by Indian selection. 
VI Perhaps the most urgent educational problem today is 
the reform of the High School. The literary type of high 
school has proved incapable of sustaining its own burden. 
The average boy it sends on to the university is found 
below the mark in knowledge of English, in general know- 
ledge, and for the freer undergraduate life to which he is 

20 Unity of Western Civilization (ed. F. S. Marvin), p 170. The 
course of lectures, be it noted, was delivered in August 1915, i. e, after 
the Great War had broken out. 


introduced at college ; and the efficiency of the college and 
the university suffers. And, as has been already remark- 
ed, high schools dealing with agricultural, technical, indus- 
trial, and practical subjects have to be created, exceeding 
in numbers the literary high schools already in existence 
and taking away from them more than half their students. 
It is only as we succeed in solving the problem at this 
stage, that we shall be able to take arts and crafts lower 
down to the primary stage at one end, and higher up to 
the university stage at the other end. VII The place of 
the vernacular and of Indian cultuie subjects in our 
system of education is exciting more and more comment 
and heated partisanship. It is the inevitable consequence 
of the growth of nationalism. Tell the Maratha that his 
modi (qt^T) script is an example of cumulative degrada- 
tion or devolution ; he will not listen. You might as well 
try to explain the matter to a tree. Tell him that the 
neighbouring Gujrati (ssm^r) script is an example of cu- 
mulative improvement or evolution, and he will be inter- 
ested. But ask him to exchange the degraded modi and 
the petrified Devanagari ffinwifl ) for the living and beauti- 
ful Gujrati script, and he will take you for a lunatic. 
That is nationalism. One of the great difficulties in the 
upward march of India is that the language, literature and 
script claiming by birth the largest number of adherents 
in North India, are so hopelessly inferior to the languages, 
literatures, and scripts surrounding them. 21 Neither 

21. It is. quite legitimate to seek to extend the use of Hindi— Urdu 
merely as a bolt (fr?fr) for ordinary purposes of commercial and other 
intercourse. But to teach it to boys and girls in the non-Hindi provin- 
ces in schools where every hour of the time-table is so important, is to 
deprive the vernacular or English of so much valuable time. Hindi 
and Urdu again differ from each other in more than the script. The 
U. P. after a long controversy have had to give up the use of common 
readers in schools, printed in Devanagari script for the Hindu children 
and Urdu script for the Muhammadan; since_1914, such readers are used 
only upto the vernacular standard III. See the whole question fully 
discussed in Dyarchy, pp 308-311, 323-5. 

EDUCATION, 1854 TO 1919 373 

Bengali, nor Marathi, nor Gujrati will yield to Hindi. 
Nor will the Dravidian languages of the South to any 
language, literature, and script of the North. Nor will 
the Muhammadan yield his Urdu or hotchpotch script, 
language and literature to one of Hindu origin and associ- 
ations. The lesson Indian nationalists have to learn is 
that nationalism logically and fanatically followed can 
only break up India. Nationalism, moreover, has no 
solution for key areas like the premier cities of Bombay, 
Calcutta, Madras, Rangoon, Karachi, Dehli, Ajmer, and 
Benares ; places where the populations in their lakhs are 
and always will be inextricably mixed up. Nationalism 
as such has no solution either for the frontier. Indian 
patriotism has to transcend nationalism or it cannot build 
up or sustain a United India. Uniform education, through 
the medium of the English language in its higher stages, 
is more important than a nationalist education, at least 
during the period of transition. Modern education is 
more important than an Indian education, at least during 
the period of transition. It is to be hoped that Indian 
nationalisms will prove themselves sane enough to realise 
the inestimable value of the moral bond that a uniform 
modern education all, over India can furnish, making for 
unity and harmonious growth. 

Sycd Mahmud: History of English Education in India. 
H. R, James: Education and Statemanship in India. 
Sir V. Chirol: Indian Unrest, chs 17-21. 

Quinquennial Reviews of the Progress of Education in India (Sir 
A Croft, 1881-6; A. M. Nash. '87-'91: J. S. Cotton, , 92- , 96; R. 
.Nathan, 1897-1901; H. W. Orange, 1902-06; H. Sharp, the last 

Indian Education, a brief annual narrative from 1913 ; there 
was no issue for 1916-17. 


§ 60. Nationalists, Irreconcilables, Anarchists. While 
railways reduced distances, lessened the time and trouble 
of travelling, and making it quite an ordinary thing for 
the average man to go by himself frequently from one 
part of India to another, broke down geographical barriers, 
and unified the country in a physical sense, the uniform 
education in high and higher institutions gave an intellec- 
tual and spiritual unity to the higher classes throughout 
the country in a few decades. A common medium of 
intercourse, common ideas and tastes and mental habits, 
a widening outlook, an emancipation of the mind, a release 
of the will, an elevation of aspirations, were produced* 
and hundreds of fresh young minds scattered all over a 
vast area began nevertheless to respond to the novel 
influence in ways the essential uniformity of which was 
wonderful to behold. The first effect of the shock almost 
everywhere was denationalisation. The child of cast-iron 
custom threw off his fetters and revelled in his new-found 
liberty, overstepping the bounds which separate true 
beneficial liberty from pernicious license. But this was 
soon followed by a more reflective stage. Chandra 
Shekhar Deb asked Rammohan Roy, " one Sunday evening 
as they were returning home from prayers: ' Diwanji, we 
now go to a house of worship where a foreigner officiates. 
Should we not have a place where we might meet and 
worship God in our own way ?' " l Thus was tne Brahmo 
Samaj born. Michael Madhusudan Datta wrote his first 
poems in English; but deeper instincts prevailed,and the pro- 
digal son returned to the Mother-Tongue: a history that has 
repeated itself since in quite a number of cases. It should 
also be remembered that the world as a whole was shrink- 
ing up as well as India and that events in any part of the 
world and thought- currents starting anywhere produced 
their effects more quickly and more fully in many coun- 
tries and in more than one continent than in any previous 

1, Sir R. Lethbridge: Life of Ramtanu Lahiri, p 71. 


century. The educated classes in India participated in 
this world-wide awakening. It was not our government 
alone which borrowed currency ideas from one European 
country or press laws from another. Our younger irre- 
concilables, too, got into touch with the literature of 
Italian secret societies, Russian anarchists, Hungarian 
obstructionists, and Egyptian Kemalists. That, however, 
was much later. To understand the beginnings of nation- 
alism in India we have to grasp first of all two leading 
features of the time. The ninteenth century in European 
history is the century of nationalism. It is also the cen- 
tury in which European scholars studied Sanskrit, created 
the sciences of comparative philology, comparative mytho- 
logy, and comparative religion, and elevated the Indo- 
Aryan race and their sacred prehistoric tongue to the 
same high pedestal as the ancient Greek and Latin. Per- 
haps the leading dates to remember in this movement of 
world-thought are — Sir Williams Jones settled the date of 
Chandragupta in 1793; Max Muller published the first 
volume of the Rig Veda in 1849 and the first volumes of 
the Sacred Books of the East in 1879; and at the first 
world-parliament of religions at Chicago in 1895, Swami 
Vivekananda asserted the claim of the Indian Sage to be 
the religious Guru (g^r) of humanity. What had long been 
a household saying known throughout Hindu-sthan that 
while there were many incarnations of the Deity all except 
one were partial manifestations, one alone was Perfection, 
he applied there to all historical religions, claiming that 
the Indian Vedanta was the only perfect manifestation of 
the spirit of humanity in its quest of the Holy Grail. It 
was a claim no Indian had advanced outside India for 
fourteen hundred years or more ; yet the spiritual eleva- 
tion of the individual who thus put it forth won intuitive 
conviction in a few, making them his disciples in faith* 
The birth of the Arya Samaj (1877) and of Theosophy 
(1878) should also be noted as events falling in the same 


Nationalism as an active principle in the communal 
consciousness implies a background in religious faith and 
a sense of dignity and selfrespect. How these arose we 
have just seen. But nationalism manifests itself principal- 
ly in political activity such as constitutional agitation, 
nonviolent but irreconcilable opposition, immoral murder 
and conspiracy, rebellion, and war. Dadabhai Naoroji 
was, by common consent, the father of political agitation in 
India. To appeal from the facts of the administration to 
the principles embodied in parliamentary legislation, from 
officialdom in India to the English public and its innate 
sense of justice, from the autocracy here to the spirit of 
liberty and progress inherent in English history, to define 
the grievances, to petition, to establish political associa- 
tions and train them up in creating a public opinion here 
and in carrying its moderate and reasoned demands through 
the regular channels to the highest court of appeal, to start 
a discussion on public grounds and to keep it up as a 
public activity, that was the sphere of public service to 
which he gave with his whole heart animated by perfect 
faith, more years of continuous persevering labour than 
any one else of his generation. He was a pioneer, and no 
pioneer can be judged in history merely by results. Or, 
rather, the following he wins, the disciples he makes, the 
spirit he breathes into the movement, are the most valu- 
able of a pioneer's achievements. And his own character, 
the purity and simplicity of his life, his moderation and 
chivalry in controversy, his transparent faith, and his 
sweet reasonableness gained a serious hearing for him 
even from inveterate opponents. 

By 1875 political progress began to be perceptible 
even outside the three capitals and places like Poona. 
The Indian Association, Calcutta, was established in 1876 
and this body sent Mr. Surendranath Banerji on a politi 
cal lecturing tour, one year to the north upto Rawalpindi, 
another year to Madras and Bombay. The Imperial 


assemblage at Dehli in 1877 was probably the first occasion 
when prominent politically-minded people from all places 
met one another in such numbers. But India is a vast 
country and was far less homogeneous then, and matters 
would have ripened rather slowly but for the Ilbert Bill, 
the determined and most violent opposition to it by the 
Anglo-Indian community, and the humiliation they suc- 
ceeded in inflicting upon Indians by that means. Even 
such an object-lesson was not indeed sufficient to open the 
eyes of the older men in the legislative council itself. 
Raja Shiva Prasad, Kristo Das Pal, and Sir Syed Ahmed 
agreed on the other hand in professing their confidence 
that their own communities, with the good breeding and 
sense of propriety innate in the Oriental, would never so 
demean themselves. But the younger leaders of the 
Indian Association judged differently. The terms of the 
concordat between the government and the Anglo-Indians 
were known by Saturday the 22nd December 1883. The 
Indian Association immediately called a National Confer- 
ence to which a number of Bengal towns sent up dele- 
gates. This precursor of our l provincial ' conferences met 
for three days before the end of the month, and Mr. 
Ananda Mohan Bose the Secretary called it the first step 
towards a national parliament. Bombay and Madras were 
also roused by the agitation, the Madras Mahajan Sabha 
was established in 1884, the Bombay Presidency Associa- 
tion in January 1885, and a desire for an All-India gather- 
ing was felt simultaneously in all the three presidencies. 
A public All-India gathering of leading representatives at 
regular intervals had also presented itself to A. O. Hume 
as desirable for directing and stimulating the progress of 
the country as a whole. He had retired in 1882 from the 
high post of Secretary to Government, but had settled at 
Simla the better to n pursue his favourite hobbies, and he 
wished to devote himself as much as possible to foster 

public life in India and especially to improve the condi- 


tion of the ryot. Thirtythree years' experience as a 
Civilian had convinced him that " the Pax Britannica had 
failed to solve the economic problem and that to leaven 
the administration more and more with Indians and to 
dig 'an overt and constitutional channel for the discharge 
of the increasing ferment' were the only reme- 
dies" 2 He was a true humanitarian and his 
catholic religious nature sympathised with positivism at 
one pole and theosophy at^the other exremityofth. thougt 
His position, influence, experience, shrewdness, and driving 
power were of inestimable value to Indian nationalism at 
this stage, and the instinct of contemporaries did not err 
in naming him the Father of the Congress. He establish- 
ed the Indian National Union in March 1885 "to enable 
the most earnest labourers in the cause of national pro- 
gress to become personally known to each other, and to 
discuss and decide upon the political operations to be 
undertaken during the coming year." In pursuance of 
these objects it was arranged to hold the first All-India 
conference i'n the Christmas holidays, another circular was 
issued affirming "unswerving loyalty to the British 
Crown" 3 as the keynote of the Union, and then he inform- 
ally sounded Lord Dufferin about the forward move that 
had been decided upon, and later went to England also 
on a brief visit to explain matters and bespeak sympathy 
in parliamentary, India Office, and journalistic circles. 
Hume himself and his friends like Cotton, Wedderburn, 
and Raghunath Rav of Madras were as keenly alive to 

• Si: V. Lovett : Indian Nationalist Movement, p. 34. 

3. The loyalty of all India in 1885 was warm and demonstrative. 
In the last days of March had occurred the Panjdeh incident while 
Amir Abdur Rahman and Lord Dufferin had been interchanging views 
at Rawalpindi, "The danger ", said Sir Alfred Lyell, "made the Indi- 
an people very^loyal. They are in great dread" that anything might 
happen] "if we got an upset, and they are all afraid of each other. . . .*'— 
tiir-V\Lovett, p. 34. • Lord Dufferin wrote to Lord Ncrthbrook in th« 
same sense.— Sir A. Lyell ; Life of Dufjerxn, ch, XI. 


the need for social as for political progress, but after the 
interview with Lord Dufferin, who emphasized the want 
of a "responsible organisation through which government 
might be kept informed regarding the best Indian public 
opinion," something fike the parliamentary opposition 
under the English constitution, it was finally determined 
to limit the gathering as such to political questions. The 
first Indian National Congress met at Bombay on the 28th 
December in the hall of the Gokuldas Tejpal institution, 
which was then a Sanskrit Pathshala, it met annually there- 
after, going the round of the provinces in succession, soon 
established itself as the central body giving responsible 
expression to the deliberate views of Indian nationalists 
on questions relating to the political interests of the peo- 
ple, and maintained its authority until Indian nationalism 
itself split into two. 

Constitutional nationalists stood forth as an organised 
party from 1885, possessing undoubted influence all over 
the country, although opinions might vary as to the quality, 
range, and depth of their influence at any time and place. 
The party produced a series of respected leaders in every 
province, who entered the legislative councils from 1893, 
it was mainly from their ranks that Indian members of the 
executive councils were chosen from 1909 onwards, and 
of the first ministers appointed under the Act of 1919, all 
who inspire confidence because of their past record as 
public men, have had their training under the flag of con- 
stitutionalists. In these ranks of Indian nationalists as 
a whole, a small band of nationalists irreconcilably oppos- 
ed to British domination in India might be said to have 
become clearly distinguishable from September 1897 when 
B. G. Tilak was sentenced for sedition. And they might 
be taken to have become irreconcilably opposed not only 
to British domination but also to constitutional nationalists 
from the moment that a Maratha shoe was pitch at the 


dais in the French Garden,' Surat, 4 hitting Surendra Nath 
Banerji or Pherozeshah Mehta or both on the 27th Decem- 
ber 1907. The two sections came together,- it is true, on 
congress platforms at a subsequent date, but the alliance 
had little warmth and was of short duration. The fact is 
that the two types differ from each other by temperament. 
If constitutional agitation goes on for a period without 
producing ostensible result, the younger men at least begin 
to lose patience and faith, and if the period of suspensei 
prolonged still further, there can be only one end. This 
is especially the case if the power in possession from whom 
reforms are sought happens to be a foreign state ; and the 
greater the gulf between ruler and subject, the greater 
the chances of nationalism becoming irreconcilable. What 
the poet has said about love applies with greater force 
to such political situations. In the minds of the subjects 
of a "bureaucracy, despotic, alien, and absentee, worse 
even than the Russian," 5 

Faith and unfaith can never be equal powers : 
Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all. • 

Under what circumstances, however, is simple trust- 
fulness, or its opposite, a blind distrust, quite justifiable 
either in the autocracy, or in the subject masses, or in 
that tertium quid, our own impatient reforming selves ? 
No one need answer such a question except for himself, 
for no one is going to act upon another's answer about it 
on any account. Looking at the matter in a slightly 
pifferent way, each party charged the other with trusting 
the ruler too much and the people too little, or vice versa 
trusting the people too much and the ruler too little. 

4» On the occasion of the 23rd I. JN. Congress which could not mee 
at all that year, being thus broken up in humiliating disorder within a 
few minutes of the election of the President. 

5. The words in inverted commas fairly render what Tilak himself 
told H. W. Nevinson, even when his object was to convince N. that 
there was little difference except in methods between his party and the 
'moderates'. New Spirit, pp. 71-77, 



Each party charged the other with overlooking the natur- 
al primary effects of its own actions and the equally 
natural further effects flowing out of the primary conse- 
quences. Nor, again, could either party quite see the 
other's patriotism, courage, statesmanship, sacrifices, and 
sufferings. As said above the differences between the 
two were temperamental, and it was not at all in the 
power of argumentation, or mutual sympathisers, or round 
table conferences to remove them. 

The irreconcilables came later on the scene than the 
constitutionalists, but when once established in the coun- 
try as a living type, they grew faster. There were seve- 
ral reasons for this. The parliamentary machine proved 
unbearably dilatory. What a statesman of Lord Duffer- 
in's standing had earnestly recommended in 1886 and 
1888 6 could not be granted until 1893 and 1896, and the 
disallowance of direct representation though making little 
difference in effect, deprived the gift of all its grace. 
Secondly, the number of Indians going to England for 
higher studies had been increasing fast, these England- 
returned young men naturally had an influence in mould- 
ing Indian political thought out of all proportion to their 
numbers, and their discontent was as keen as their impa- 
tience was great for higher posts for themselves and freer 
institutions for the country. A third and much larger 
body of irreconcilables, with feelings prising to definite 
hostility, was regularly manufactured by British Colonies 
like South Africa. The root of the poison is their All- 

<>. Lyell : Life, ch 13. The first minute recorded his own views, 
the second those of the Governor General in Council. Representation, 
at leas;, for the provincial legislatures was recommended. As to throw- 
ing more of the higher appointments open to Indians, the concessions 
drawn up by the Aitchison Commission were thought too liberal by the 
Secretary of State and were whittled down, nor were they acted 
upon till 1896. 


White policy 7 . And the virulence of the poison is height- 
ened by the methods they employ in carrying out that 
policy. For long decades Indian coolies pedlars and trad- 
ers were mere coolies pedlars and traders, devoid of a 
political sense. Sufference was the badge of their tribe. 
Their inherited attitude towards constituted authority was 
meekness and resignation until soul and body could not 
stand more and parted company. Their heart and imagi- 
nation were caught hold of even while they were mere 
children, and the entire wealth of their nature was gradu- 
ally gently but persistently and most effectively directed 
through all the senses and by means of every faculty 
towards— God! That is Hindu religion; that has been 
the main strand of Indian culture through the ages. Then 
the nineteenth century dawned. The modern school, the 
hospital, the railway station, cities like Bombay, sprang up # 
The outer world rushed in upon India. The ocean 
breeze blew, saline and stimulating, and new life stirred 
the primeval forest. The building up of a secular civiliza- 
tion began. Nationalism was born. The cooli, the ped- 
lar, the trader were no longer the same individuals as 
their fathers or even as their elder brothers. Constitu- 
ntionalism was tried for a space. A South African India 
Congress met at Durban and other places. There were 
deputations to England and monster petitions. Did it do 
any good ? None. On the contrary, the situation grew 
steadily worse. For the same spirit of nationalism that 
was transforming the Indian had in the meanwhile deve- 
loped in those lands the All-White policy as the only 
possible ideal to claim the whole-hearted allegiance of the 
white settlers there, who monopolised all political and 
military power, and had no scruples at all about using 

7. The Union of South Africa has a population of nearly 6 millions 
only a million and a quarter being Whites. In iihodhesia tnere are 
only 30000 Whites in a population of a million and three-quarters. The 
Uuion means a territory of 473000 and Rhodhesia, 439000 sq. miles. 


it to give progressive substantiation to their ideal. 
That all power is a trust and worthy of respect as an 
emanation of the Divine only in so far as it is honestly 
used as a trust, is a doctrine these colonists, still in their 
wild and arrogant youth, do not seem even to have heard 
of. Thus it is that flint has struck steel, and the red 
spark of racial hate has been ignited. 

B. G. Tilak and others became irreconcilables through 
the native process of their own minds. Their acts and 
newspapers, their successes and misfortunes spread their 
politics and won them adherents to a certain extent. But 
it should not be forgotten as it often is that the whole 
body of irreconcilables in India did not spring up from 
this single root. As we have just seen, the England-re- 
turned and especially the Indians returning from the 
colonies with their bitter experiences, supplied large num- 
bers of independent recruits to the party. And, to com- 
plete our analysis, it must be added that the party gained 
still another contingent through the repressive measures 
of the state. To suffer worldly ruin, severe punishment, 
indignity still more difficult to bear, to be told on the top 
of it all that it was done for the good of the state, and yet 
to bear no ill-will in return, is not give)n to ordinary 
mortals. Most of these men, and many others influenced 
by them, must go to swell the ranks of the irreconcilables. 
This should not be taken to mean that all repression is 
wrong. Repression when necessary is right. To shrink 
from repression even when necessary is wrong. Murder- 
ers must be punished according to the law. Conspiracies 
and treasonable associations must not only be broken up 
but also prevented from springing up as far as possible. 
Bold budmashes seeking to terrorise policemen and judges 
and establish a- reign of fear in villages and districts 
must be hunted down almost like beasts of prey. The 
spread of topsy-turvy sentiment and doctrine must be 
restrained just like the dissemination of obscenity. 



These and similar powers of the state, however, rest 
principally upon the willing and hearty consensus of the 
vast majority of intelligent subjects. And such a consen- 
sus behind it is what a foreign autocracy generally lacks, 
especially after nationalism has become widespread among 
its subjects, ' Force rules the world', said a great French 
thinker, 'only until Right is ready to undertake the duty'. 
Autocracy is tolerated only until a community develops 
political consciousness. An autocracy should take the 
spread amongst its subjects of an active spirit of nation- 
alism 8 as a notice to submit to a radical transformation 
of its nature. A foreign autocracy should do so not less 
but all the more promptly, since it has fewer bonds of 
sympathy and understanding with the population. To do 
otherwise is not statemanship. 

To pass on to the genesis of the third variety of na- 
tionalists. Lord Elgin's viceroyalty was a period of war, 
widespread famine, and plague — indescribably terrible 
then in its first outburst. Economic unrest had spread 
far and wide. The continuous fall in silver had placed 
the state finances in danger, and among the remedies ap- 
plied was an excise duty upon cotton goods woven in 
Indian mills, 9 at the dictation and in the interests of the 
English cotton industry. Lord Curzon's viceroyalty suc- 
ceeded, a period during which anti-government feeling 

8. Whether this is really the case at a particular time in any 
community is a question of fact, to be carefully and impartially gone 
into by competent men strictly as a question of fact, and by the applica- 
tion of tests capable of yielding measurable results. Assertions on the 
subject, demagogic and journalistic, ought not to count at all. And it 
is a complex question about which even amongst competent judges with 
all the evidence before them, there would be plenty of room for an 
honest difference of opinion. 

9. R. C. Dutta calls the Cotton Duties Act, 1896, "an instance of 
fiscal injustice unexampled in any civilised country in modern times.'' 
Victorian Age, pp. 538-44, see pp. 292-93 ante. Has any one ever told 
Lancashire, I wonder, that the policy it has pursued has : contributed its 
bit towards breeding irreconoilables and potential anarchists in India ? 


attained a volume a breadth and a height unheard of in 
India experience. In Bengal in particular all classes com- 
bined together in a passionate opposition to the Curzonian 
partition. The mother-country — the geographical surface- 
became for the first time in Bengali thought the material 
sheath of Kali ( wm ) the Mother, Bankim Chandra's 
rugged song in the Ananda Math ( srnre *& ) was discover- 
ed to have mystical charms and transcendent beauties, 
and Bande Mataram ( ^ q^^ ), the refrain, !0 was soon on 
Bengali lips, young and old, in every tone and key, at all 
hours of the day and night. As ill-luck would have it, it 
so happened that there was a; small number of Indians — a 
few men and at least one woman — who had long been 
planning and plotting to tempt Indians away from honour 
and manliness and all that we generally hold most dear 
and sacred. So far they had been beating the air. But 
now they saw their opportunity and seized it. The Cur- 
zonian partition was promulgated on the 19th July 1905 11 
that most unpopular measure on the top of a long succes- 
sion of unpopular measures and galling utterances. The 
India Home Rule Society was started in London in Janu- 
ary 1905, the Indian Sociologist began to appear, lecture- 
ships and travelling scholarships were founded to draw 
promising youths from India to England, and the India 
House in London was in full working order by 1906. The 
wily spiders spread the net, enticed the flies inside, injected 
the necessary poison into them, and confidently left the rest 
to the workings of adolescent human nature. If any one 
wants an example of true blue diabolicality in Indian 

10 The moat musical rendering of the soDg I ever heard was from 
two Bengalis singing it together on a memorable day a little before 
sunrise at the French Garden, Surat, in the pandal of the Congress, 
that only a few hours;later,'was given the sack — or the shoe rather ! — 
by the Maharashtra delegates from Bombay, C P., and Berar. I suppose 
it was the hour and the place which blended the liquid cadence, for my 
ear, into notes of a never-to-be-forgotten harmony. 

11 L. Fraser : India under Curzon, p. 382. 



history, here is one. From the point of view of the ob- 
jects aimed at, examine the choice of time, the choice of 
place, the means, the methods, how little was the trouble* 
after all, to the arch-plotters themselves, and yet, how 
thundering the results. The Jugantar bsgan to appear 
soon after the Indian Sociologist, and the Maniktola home 
was started about a year after the India House. The 
Muzaffarpur outrage was committed on the 30th April 1908 
and the first capture of a band of anarchists took place on 
the 2nd May. Other bands came into existence in vari- 
ous places and committed other crimes. The story need 
not be given here even in outline. But it ought to be 
known far more widely and far better than it is. Its 
significance need not be exaggerated ; but it should not be 
underestimated either. The tabular statements and charts 
in the Sedition Committee Report (1918) show the main 
facts at a glance. 

W. S. Blunt : India under Ripon. 

Sir W. Wedderburn : A. O. Hume. 

A. C. Muzumdar : Indian National Evolution. 

Tilak-v.— Chirol and another, 2 vols. 

Sedition Committee Report 1918. 

§ 61 Demands , Administrative to Radical. The 
political rights demanded and the changes in the constitu- 
tion desired went on increasing as the spirit of nationality 
inspired larger numbers and grew in intensity and earn- 
estness. It must be noted at once that in this respect the 
anarchists contributed nothing to the development of 
political thought in India. They were purely negative 
and destructive. Drawing their inspiration so largely 
from the extreme offshoots of European socialism, and 
from some of the master-minds (like Mazzini and Kossuth) 
of the oppressed nationalities of Europe, they yet omitted 
to adumbrate for India, even in the sketchiest manner, 
anything corresponding to those visions of the future, in 
which the literature of socialism and nationalism abounds. 
All they had to say to English rule and Englishmen in 


India was limited to the single word — Begone ! Their 
sole precept to the Indian was — Kill ! All they sought to 
bring about was the violent death of the Present by assas- 
sination, butchery, and terrorism. What the Future would 
be after such ending of the Present, these outlaws never 
cared. ' That, however, was not the case with the other 
nationalists, They knew the backwardness and hetero- 
geneity of the Indian population, they were fully aware 
of the might and resources of the Empire and of their 
own government, they were sincerely convinced that it 
was doing good work in India which no other agency 
could undertake, they were scrupulously careful not to 
suggest anything that might be interpreted as dangerous 
or as a leap into the dark. They were, if anything, ob- 
sessed with a sense of the enormous responsibilities 
facing them. They proceeded most cautiously and deli- 
berately, suggesting administrative, fiscal, legal, and con- 
stitutional reforms, not in vague generalities but in the 
shape of detailed and concrete proposals, and if they erred 
at all, it was an error on the safe side, expecting too much 
from inquiries and commissions and sweet resonableness 
trusting with a faith touching to behold, to the manifest 
justice of their cause- It was only after years of pegging 
away in this manner at their self-imposed task that they 
were convinced of the futility of this method of piecemeal 
reforms and advanced to bolder strategy. Should 
they not have done so from the first ? It seems to me 
that the better informed view would justify the course 
they actually adopted, holding that they could at the time 
and with their resources have adopted no other. A demand 
for Reform rather than reforms, for radical change instead 
of administrative improvements, would almost certainly 

1. Perhaps this one trait is sufficient by itself to show how raw 
and irresponsible Indian anarchism was even when some of its Crimes 
revealed such baffling capacity for subterranean plotting. 


have started repression by the executive at an earlier 
date, and the capacity to face repression like men and yet 
keep the flag flying is a plant of slow growth. What the 
condition of India really was when the Indian National 
Congress was launched should always be borne in mind. 
To mention only one or two characteristic little facts. In 
those days every one who passed the Collector's bunga- 
low, stopped a minute, doffed his shoes, made a salaam — 
to the spirit of the place ! — and only then resumed his 
shoes and proceeded on his way. In those days a mem- 
sahib had still merely to order her khansama to take a 
man along with him to the magistrate, the man might be a 
servant, or a pedlar, or a beggar, or a passer-by, and the 
magistrate would instantly have administered to the poor 
fellow a few cuts of the whip — to maintain the Raj and 
its prestige! In those days 2 — but enough, One of the 
greatest difficulties a historian of modern India has to 
face is the rapidity with which " those days " have been 
changing, decade by decade ."ever since 1818. 

Those days passed. The Congress itself contributed 
not a little to a wide diffusion of political consciousness, 
and to the creation of hundreds of men, year by year, who 
began looking into political matters much more closely, 
until it became a habit, convictions were formed and circu* 
lated, and a public opinion arose resting upon a wider and 
more solid consensus than before. The men who launch- 
ed the Congress gave place to their successors. And the 
disappointing Indian Councils Act, 1892, the refusal of the 
executive to give effect to H. Paul's resolution in favour 
of simultaneous examinations passed by the Commons in 
1893, and the imposition of the excise on cotton goods 
manufactured by Indian mills in 1896, created a change 
of attitude in India towards British rule, a change further 

2. For an example of how a pensioner retiring from a high position 
incurring the displeasure of local officials, was ruined by them in those 
days, see W. S, Blunt ? India under B.ipon, p. 43. 


accentuated by the repression that followed. The influ- 
ence of three extraneous thought currents has also to be 
taken inlo consideration. The Jingoism of middle class 
English thought starting from about 1875 continued, as has 
been mentioned in an earlier chapter, upto the outbreak of 
the war against the Boers in South Africa. The increas- 
ing determination of the colonists to reduce the Indians 
settled in their midst to the position of depressed classes 
by hook or by crook, to prevent further immigration, and 
to de-naturalise, so to say, and even to expatriate those 
who had already won a secure position as property owners 
and as citizens, by drastic legislation administered still 
more drastically, has also been commented upon. M. K. 
Gandhi's non-violent but adamantine opposition to one of 
the most iniquitous manifestations of this policy, natur- 
ally attracted the attention of the whole civilised world, 
as a phenomenon quite as remarkable in its way as the 
wonderfully rapid modernisation of Japan, especially with 
respect to the efficiency of her army and navy, and still 
more naturally excited high and bitter feeling in India 
itself. And, lastly, there were the world effects on the 
mentality of all non-European countries from China to 
Morocco, countries subjugated and exploited more or less 
by European powers and threatened with still further 
progressive degradation, effects necessarily produced by 
the resounding victories of Japan on sea and land in her 
war of defence against the unscrupulous and unlimited 
aggression of Russia. It is perfectly true that the war 
was like a contest between an elephant and a leopard. 
The elephant could not put forth all his force and weight 
into a blow until he had first receded a few steps to start 
again and develop the necessary momentum. The re- 
treat, too, was effected methodically and without serious 
loss. And he was at length ready for his start, with the 
long railway line behind him in proper trim, and an army 
of over nine lakhs ready at the front, with all the stores 


and reinforcements necessary to feed it also ready to 
reach the front in a regular flow. It is no less true that 
Japan was already at her last gasp at least financially* 
But in the meanwhile she had reduced Port Arthur by 
prodigies of valour, her aimies had gone on advancing 
mile by mile, and when the Russian fleet reached the 
scene of operations it was sent to the bottom of the Yellow 
Sea in a twinkling. Hence, although Russia gave no 
indemnity and lost no territory, the peace was quite 
naturally looked upon all over the world as an unequivo- 
cal victory for Japan, and especially by all non-European 

Lord Curzon left India in November. The partition 
was given effect to in October 1905, the liberals came into 
power with John Morley as Secretary of State for India in 
December, and at the Congress held at Benares at the end 
of the month, G. K. Gokhle as president observed — 

"The goal of the Congress is that India should be governed in the 
interest of the Indians themselves, and that, in course of time, a form of 
government should be attained in this country similar to what exists in 
the self-governing colonies of the British Empire." 3 

To appreciate the nature of the advance, we have only 
to contrast the above with the objects of the Congress 
as we find them in the Rules of the Congress Constitu- 
tion, adopted at the fifteenth sessions (1899): — 

3. Speeches, p. 829. Gokhle had been in England earlier during 
the year and the announcement of this as the 'goal' was deliberately 
decided upon in consultation with the elder congress leaders in England 
and also, probably, in India. See Dadabhai Naoroji's message to the 
Benares Congrass, especially the following passages :—"We are now on 
the eve of our arriving of age, and we have to make a new start for- 
ward. . . . The work of the Congress in India and England has develop- 
ed a clear and most urgent aim, viz. self-government like that of the 
Colonies, in the way most suitable to the peculiar circumstances of 
India. . The tide is with us. All Asia is waking up. The Isles of 
the East (Japan) have made the start." 


" The object of the Indian National Congress shall be to promote by 
constitutional means the interests and the well-being of the people of 
the Indian Empire." 3 

And to do full justice to the Congress leaders, their 
motives and their calculations, in deciding upon this bold 
step at this juncture, we might look at a historical analogy. 
"Shivaji and his ministers," says the historian, — 

"had long felt the praotical disadvantages of his not being a crowned 
king. ..Theoretically, Shivaji's position was that of a subject; to the 
Mogul Emperor he was a mere zamindar; to Adil Shah he was the rebel 
son of a jagirdar...He could sign no treaty, grant no land with legaj 
validity, his conquests could not become his lawful property. ..The 
people under his sway could not be free from their allegiance to the 
former sovereign, nor could he claim their loyalty and devotion. ..His 
rise had created muoh jealousy among the other Maratha sardars who 
refused to adhere t.6 him as his servants... There was also, in the higher 
minds, the desire to see the Hindu race elevated to the full stature 
of political growth by the formal assertion of his position as an indepen" 
dent king. They longed for the Hindu Swarajya (^TOW) and that 
implied a Hindu chhatrapati grwa"." 4 

Lastly, Shivaji and his ministers also chose the mo- 
ment of coronation with the greatest circumspection. 
With all this in mind, turn now to the present day. Indi- 
ans were being defrauded of their rights in the colonies ; 
and the determination was avowed and was being given 
effect to of reducing them to the status of helots and pari- 
ahs. The argument put forward was, how could Indians 
claim to be citizens in those lands when they were merely 
subjects of an autocracy in their own? Secondly, public 
opinion in India, however strong and unani mous, could 
not get the Government of India to move in the matter as 

3. Of course in the rapidly growing volume of Congress oratory, 
there were passages here and there of earlier dates pointing to this 
goal, e. g. Surendra Nath Bannerji's speech as president at Poona, 
1895. But these were at those earlier dates, little more than flowers of 
rhetoric. With Gokhle began from 1905 the claim that this was the 
minimum, that this much at least was indubitably due to India in her 
own right. 

4. J. Sarkar ; Shivaji, ch 9 § 1 condensed. 


the champion of Indians. The Government of India took 
no mandates from the people, its sole duty was obedience 
to the British Ministry and parliament. Thirdly, the Civil 
Service here, who under any rational and civilised form of 
government, ought to be mere servants, lorded it over the 
people with a high hand, and Lord Curzon's government 
asserted their continued adherence to the principles the 
Stracheys and the Stephens had proclaimed a generation 
earlier, the only difference being that they were now 
even more vehement and exclusive about it than their 
predecessors. "To me", said his rhetorical lordship, "the 
message is carved in granite, it is hewn out of the rock of 
doom. " To have allowed these vainglorious and unjust 
claims of the colonist and the civilian to become perma- 
nent facts, would have meant the death of India. They 
had to be fought tooth and nail. And just then hope 
dawned on the horizon. The Curzonian regime came 
to an end, the Jingo regime, too, came to an end in Eng- 
land, the liberals came into power with an overwhelming 
majority, and John Morley became the Secretary of State 
for India. Now or never, thought the Congress leaders. 
They proclaimed their goal, and sent Gokhle to England 
as their delegate. The following Congress at Calcutta 
clenched the matter. Dadabhai Naoroji as president 
spoke principally of "self-government or swarajya for 
India, like that of the United Kingdom or the Colonies, " 
and the congress resolved that 

« ( The system of government obtaining in the self-governing British 
colonies should be extended to India, and urged that as steps leading to 
it, (a) simultaneous examinations for all higher appointments in India 
as well as in England, (b) the adequate representation of Indians in the 
India Council and in the executive councils of the Viceroy and Govern- 
ors, (c) an expansion of the legislatures with the addition of a large 
number of truly effective representatives of the people and a larger 
control over the financial and executive administration, and (d) the 
freedom of local and municipal bodies from official control with an 
increase of their powers, should be introduced immediately. " 


Dadabhai Naoroji also appealed for union between 
Hindus and Muhammadans. Education had been ad- 
vancing amongst the latter and the younger men were 
becoming nationalists in increasing numbers. At some of 
the Congresses held in the U. P. the Muhammadan dele- 
gates were more than a thiri of the total. And Muham- 
madan journalism as it grew up leaned more and more to 
the policy and methods of the Hindu nationalist organs. 
This tendency was already causing some disquiet to the 
older generation of Muhammadan leaders, who still clung 
to the policy initiated by Sir Syed Ahmed of keeping the 
community a distinct and organised force as between the 
rulers and the Hindus. They wanted to do something 
that might recast tne above policy in such a way as tk> 
bring it uptodate and enable it to continue its hold upon 
their brethren as in the past. English liberalism, more- 
over, had never been able to cast its spell over Muham- 
madan thought to any extent. To them its philosophy 
was anti-religious and socially anarchical and its world- 
politics anti-Turk i. e. anti-Muhammadan. Hence, al- 
though its humanitarian democratic pacific and progressive 
character appealed to the best minds among them, the 
community as a whole entertained towards it a feeling of 
distrust amounting to fear. Thus, when the Indian Na- 
tional Congress set before itself the goal of acquiring fox 
India a form of self-government within the empire analo- 
gous to that of the British colonies, they thought tkat:thi8 
would mean a predominantly Hindu government, unless 
they acted at once to safeguard their own special rights 
and position. And as they realised how strong the new 
Liberal ministry was and how powerful and influential 
were the radical and labour contingents in the new house 
of commons, they foresaw that the next Viceroy would in 
all probability be a doctrinaire Liberal, a modernised edi- 
tion of Lord Ripon without his piety and with greater 
driving power, and they decided to act at once so as \Q 



win over the Government of India at least to their side, 
while Lord Minto was still at the helm. Thus arose the 
historical Muhamnaadan deputation with H. H. the Aga- 
Khan at its head, which waited upon the Viceroy on the 
lat October 1906, showed how the legislatures, municipa- 
lities and local boards had not till then afforded to their 
community a representation, either by election or by 
nomination, in proportion to its numbers or political and 
historical importance, and urged that no system of repre- 
sentation, however devised, would do so, unless a certain 
number of seats were specially assigned to them on each 
elected body, and communal electorates formed to return 
that number. 5 The Government of India admitted the 
facts, accepted their claims, and assured them of their 
support. Such was the origin of communal representation 
for Muhammadans in the regulations under the Indian 
Councils Act, 1909, and under the Government of India 
Act, 1919, the application of the principle had to be ex- 
tended to some other communities also, in spite of the 
very strong objections to it noted in the Montagu-Chelms- 
ford Report. 6 

The Muhammadans also created an all-India political 
organisation of their community, which began to meet 
annually from 1906 under the name of the Moslem League.' 
And, just like the Indian National Congress, it soon had a 
branch of it or committee in England. For some years 
their energies were mainly directed towards educational 
advancement, and during this first phase of its history the 

5 See the Address, H. H. the Aga Khan's speech, Lord Minto's 
speech in reply, tiie Govt, of India's despatch to the S. S., No. 21, 1-10- 
1908, paras 18-21 ( Mukharji I pp. 283-7 ), &o. Morley strongly disapprov- 
ed, but had to acoept it as an integral part of the reform scheme. Re- 
collections, II 315, 325, &c. 

6 Paras 227-32. 

7* For a very brief account of earlier Muhammadan gatherings 
and associations, see Ramsay Macdonald : Awakening of India, p 176. 


movement received considerable support and encourage- 
ment from officials and the Government. But one of the 
first demands thus developed was for the elevation of the 
Aligarh College into a Moslem University, and by 1912 
the differences between the Government and the Muham- 
madans in the views each held on the subject of the pro- 
per constitution of such a university became acute. The 
project had to be dropped for the moment, with the con- 
sequence that the members of the league found themselves 
really forming three distinct sections, a right, a centre, 
and a left, of which the central group, by far the most 
numerous and influential, began to lean more and more 
towards the Indian National Congress. That body had 
welcomed Lord Morley's proposals with "deep and gene- 
ral satisfaction" in 1908 as a "large and liberal instalment 
of reform," 8 but had discovered reason to change its 
opinion as soon as the regulations under the Act were 
published. Sir William Wedderburn came out from Eng- 
land to preside over the next Congress at Allahabad, and 
brought about, immediately after, a " conciliation confer- 
ence" between Hindu and Muhammadan leaders, where the 
initial steps were taken to induce a gradual rapproach 
ment between the two communities all over India. In 
order that such a conference could be held at all, H. H 
the Aga Khan had abridged the sessions of the Moslem 
League at Nagpur and brought over about forty leading 
Muhammadans with himself to Allahabad. 9 The conver- 
sion of the League to Congress ideals was quickened by 
Asian and European events such as the misfortunes of 

8. II Resoltn of the Madras Congress, 1908; IV— VII Resns. of the 
Lahore Congress, and the speech of the President, Pandit Madan 
Mohan Malaviya, 1909. See also a brief discussion of the matter — 
Report 1. C. R. t paras 90-101. 

9, For the captions originally proposed for discussion and amic- 
able settlement, see the newspaper India, February 3, 1911. 


Persia and Turkey. From 1915 1° onwards the League 
began to assemble at the same place as the Congress and 
to fraternise with it, and at the Congress and League 
sessions of 1916 at Lucknow the question of the propor- 
tional representation of Hindus and Muhammadans on 
elected bodies in every province and in the central govern- 
ment was settled once for all by mutual agreement. 11 

Mrs. Annie Besant: How India wrought for Freedom. 

Sir V. Lovett: History of the Indian Nationalist Movement. 

§ 62 The Great War had in the meanwhile broken 
out on August 4th, 1914. India saw at once that it was 
no ordinary war, but a struggle for life and death against 
a determined foe of marvellous strength, where honour 
and freedom were at stake. Lord Haidinge consulted 
leaders all over India, and convinced that raja and ryot, 
Hindu and Moslem, were alike heirs to an ancient culture 
that scorned the very idea of seizing the moment of En- 
gland's peril for India's advantage, and that the one regret 
of every educated young man was that he had no military 
training, 1 sent away immediately to the various fronts as 
many English and Indian soldiers, with as much of the 

10. The League did not meet at all in 1914. 

11. The proportion of elected Muhammadan to elected Indian 
members was to be :— the Punjab, one-half; Bengal, 40%; Bombay, one- 
third; U. P., 30%; Behar, 25%; Madras and C. P., H%; aDd it was also 
agreed that Muhammadan voters were to vote only through thair specia ^ 

1 See Bhupendra Nath Basu's address as Congress president, 1914 ; 
his pamphlet "Why India is heart and soul with England V" ; the verses 
-good evidence even when indifferent as verses-of many writers, from 
William Watson and Nawab Nizamat Jung Bahadur downwards, some 
of which will be found in the numbers of the newspaper India from Sep- 
tember 1914 to the end of the War; the relevant resolutions of the legis 
latures and of the Congress and the League from 1914 onwards ; the 
proceedjpgs of the meetings and conferences convened for special war 
efforts, &o. 


artillery, arms and ammunition, and military stores of al* 
kinds, as could possibly be spared. This help of inestim- 
able value was rendered doubly valuable by being rendered 
in the nick of time, and it was followed up throughout the 
war by coolies, non-combatants of all grades, grain and 
various supplies, as well as soldiers being steadily for- 
warded wherever wanted in generous quantities at a con- 
siderable sacrifice direct and indirect to India herself. 
The full tale of all that India did and suffered for the 
Empire during and because of the War can never be told. 
When in the next generation some painstaking German 
historian writes the story of the War in detail, it is not at 
all unlikely that he might attribute his country's defeat 
mainly to the fact that England and her allies had the un- 
limited man-power and resources of India to draw upon. 
Even if we confine ourselves to the single item of the 
number of Indians who enlisted and went to the front to 
do their bit, we find that the total goes up to nearly se- 
venteen lakhs, out of whom over sixty thousand were 
killed, eleven thousand became prisoners, seventy thou- 
sand were wounded, and eleven won the Victoria Cross. 
For the first few weeks England paused with bated breath 
to see how India would act at this crisis of her fate ; 
knowing that the foe must have left no subterranean tricks 
untried to create complications, confusion and revolt 
amongst these ignorant, suffering and alien masses. When, 
however, all doubt on the subject vanished, her joy and 
gratitude found expression in a unanimous shout, — "well 
done, worthy comrade 1" How long this mood lasted it is 
impossible to say. Whether it ever affected the men who 
ruled the British army from Lord Kitchener downwards, 
it is impossible to say for certain. What is certain is that 
even if the heads of the army in India itself gave way to 
the generous impulse at all, it was only for a moment. 
They reverted pretty quickly to their settled policy of 
keeping India, the real India, as unarmed, untrained, and 


unfit iii a military sense as ever. As CoJonel Wedge- 
wood says, 

"Military bosses saw to it that those who could have come, volun- 
tarily and knowing the issue, were not allowed to bear arms. Most of 
those who came .were pressed, and the less said about it the better. 
They knew how to die; but they did not die for India or for a free 
Commonwealth. With them it was Fate, and they met Fate with 
serene eyes, as Indians have for five thousand years. What could not 
India have done as a race of freemen ! We pulled through without 
the real India.' 2 

Distrust like this at such a juncture who could fail to 
read ? Who could fail to feel it as a stigma altogether 
undeserved ? And two other factors have also to be 
noted. The struggle proved to be of such a character 
that the Allied Powers were obliged to represent it as 
a struggle for the preservation of freedom and civilisation 
all over the world ; they spoke as the disinterested and 
dedicated champions of right, freedom, and culture, pro- 
mised in the most solemn manner that they would at the 
peace respect the sacred right of self-determination inhe- 
rent in every nation, at least every progressive nation, 
even the weakest and the smallest, and went so far as to 
proclaim that even the most backward and uncivilised 
people, when handed over to any one of them in the 
redistribution of the world, would be ruled scrupulously 
in their own genuine interests, as a trust from humanity , 
and periodical accounts would be rendered to some im- 
partial international authority like a League of Nations. 
The resources of modern organisation were strained to 
the uttermost to spread this propaganda throughout the 
world. The founders of new faiths have invariably said, 
" Come to me, all and each, that might be in distress, 
bodily or mental. Come to me, I bring nectar from the 
skies : partake of it and be healed. " These Allied Pow- 

2. Future of the indo-British Commonwealth, p 18. 


ers similarly assumed the prophetic role, and said to the 
nations, "Come to us, help us only to chain this < drunk- 
en demon ' who is out to smash up the world ; can't you 
see we have undertaken the job for the good of the world; 
as soon as we have accomplished it, every one of you will 
have the freedom your heart desires ; come to us. " And 
the exceptional distinction of the years of storm and 
stress through which the world has passed is just this, 
that the young middle-class citizen of the civilised world 
before whom this vision of a new order was spread, hon- 
estly believed in it, flocked to the flag of humanity and 
freedom in hundreds of thousands, and the war was won. 
It was for this that the young voter of modern democra- 
cies rushed to arms, it was for this that one out of every 
ten who did so laid down his life. There is no parallel 
in recorded history to a human sacrifice (qr^r) on such a 
scale. There must spring up from it more political free- 
dom in the world than ever before, or else all human life 
and history is vanity of vanities. But political freedom, 
of course, is only for those who can rear it and nourish it 
and guard it for themselves. 

The other factpr was the new claim advanced by the 
Colonies to share the direction and control of the foreign 
policy of the Empire along with England as equal part- 
ners. Like the rest of the world they had seen as soon 
as the war broke out that it was a life and death struggle, 
and like every other part of the Empire they rushed to 
arms and strove to throw all their weight into the contest. 
But they pointed out at the same time that the foreign 
policy of a state and such decisions of peace and war and 
alliances as it involved were without exception the most 
momentous decisions a state could be called upon to face, 
and their political freedom and status were seriously in 
defect until England took them into her counsels and 
deliberations on these matters as sister nations. The 


sovereign executive and legislature of the Empire which 
took these decisions were to be responsible to them no 
less than to the people of the United Kingdom, otherwise 
their political freedom, however complete in their own 
internal affairs, was an organism of a lower order al- 
together, standing to the absolute self-existent (^^i;) 
freedom of the full-grown state as does a mere man to a 
god (^-ct). English opinion had to a slight extent been 
prepared for such a demand for a more closely knit orga- 
nisation of tlie Empire from the time of Queen Victoria's 
Jubilee onwards, through periodical conferences between 
English and colonial statesmen. 3 Vague ideas which had 
thus been in a process of haphazard growth, the emotion- 
al shock of the Great War nourished into a sudden vigour, 
the colonial demand was warmly welcomed on all hands, 
a reorganisation of the constitution of the Empire leapt into 
prominence as an urgent problem to be handled as soon 
as the war was won, and English statesmen of the first 
rank, including Bonar Law, the colonial secretary, advis- 
ed the Colonies in a public speech "to strike the iron 
while it was redhot." The only definite scheme in the 
field for such reorganisation was the one, published in 
1916, by Mr. Lionel Curtis, one of the originators and 
leaders of the Round Table students, a small but active 
body of men assemDled in groups in university centres and 
other places in all the colonies and in England, who had 

3. Seelay's Expansion of England appeared and the Imperial 
Federation League was formed, 1883. The first Colonial Conference 
was held, 1887; the second, 1894; the third 1902; the next was the first 
••Imperial" Conference, 1907. The second, 1911, had the diplomatic and 
foreign situation (the Agadir incident) fully expounded by the Foreign 
Secretary of State in a secret session. These have been followed by the 
Imperial War Conferences and Cabinet meetings during the Great War, 
the Imperial Peace Conference, and the Imperial Conference this year. 
For a very brief account, see in the Edinburgh Review for April 1921, 
J . A. R. Marriott: Organisation of the Empire. 


for several years been examining this very problem in all 
its complexities.* Mr. Curtis's scheme was that imperial 
affairs should be separated from domestic, and while the 
latter were to be dealt with-as in each of the Dominions-by 
an executive and legislature responsible only to the United 
Kingdom, for the former a new Imperial executive and 
legislature must be created responsible to the five sister 
nations, the United Kingdom and the four self-governing 
colonies. This meant, however, that all the other parts of 
the Empire which had hitherto been subject to the United 
Kingdom alone, would, on the formation of this new su- 
preme government for the empire, be subject to it instead* 
And it is not at all surprising that India, with the treatment 
it had received from the colonists, and the opinion it had 
formed about them, should protest against such a change in 
unmeasured terms. 5 It is due to Mr. Curtis to add that he 
himself was fully conscious of the unique position of India 

i. On the grant of responsible government to the Transvaal and 
Orange River Colony, Closer Union societies were formed in South 
Africa, 1906-7. On the accomplishment of the Union of Sonth Africa, 
these were converted into Round Table societies, similar societies were 
formed in Canada, New Zealand, England, Australia, and Newfoundland, 
1909-10, the problem of the reorganisation of the Empire was the sub- 
ject thay set before themselves to study co-operatively, and the quar* 
terly organ, the Round Table, was started. Mr.? Curtis published the 
Problem of the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth of Nations, 1916. 
He came to India in October.— -Dyarchy, pp 38-90. 

5. For instance here are a few sentences from the pen of a leader 
noted for the mildness of his nature and the habit he has cultivated of 
weighing every word. " The responsibility of ruling India will be 
accepted, Mr. Curtis assures us, as a high spiritual task; viz that of 
preparing for freedom the races which cannot as yet govern them- 
selves'. ..This is the new humiliation that stares us in the face, if we 
do not make it clear betimes that we will not tolerate the pretensions of 
the Dominions... Patience is a difficult virtue to exercise when a certain 
set of people brand yon as an inferior race, exclude you ruthlessly from 
their territory, and then coolly offer to administer your affairs and 
exploit your resources, adding at the same time that it is all for the 
purpose of teaching you how to govern yourselves." V. S. Srinivas 
8astri: Self Government for India under the British Flag (1916), p 7. 


in the Empire, soon after the publication of his book he 
came over here iu person to study the problem of the com- 
monwealth in its Indian aspect in all its complexities, and 
he lost little time in recasting his supreme Imperial organ 
of government so as to include India also within it as a re- 
sponsible partner. The imperial legislature he now advocat- 
ed was to be bi-cameral, representatives of the Indian Native 
States were to be members of the upper house, those of 
British India were to be members of the lower, and the 
imperial executive was to be drawn from both the houses. 6 
But the fat was already in the fire, and not a few 
of our influential public men and journals lost their 
balance to such an extent as to imagine they had no- 
thing more patriotic to do than to fan it into flame. 
Even the best-informed Indians wavered for a time and 
Were full of anxiety. It was natural at such a crisis to 
forget how extremely deliberate England has invariably 
been in adopting fundamental changes in her constitution. 
Hardly any one knew till long after that whatever influence 
the Round Table organisation possessed would be exhaust- 
ed with the initiation of a bill at the next Imperial Conven- 
tion at the end of the War, or that that body itself was not at 
all unanimous about Mr. Curtis' s scheme. 7 Nor could it 
then be foreseen that the whole influence of General Smuts 
and South Africa would, as the event has proved, be steadily 
and decisively cast into the opposite scale. Public excite- 
ment rose higher and was participated in by larger numbers 
during 1916 and 1917 than ever before, and all parties and 
sections of political opinion joined together to demand real 
and full self-government for India at the earliest possible 
moment, particularly in order that we might not become 
subject to a government in which the Colonies had a share* 
All the three factors thus briefly indicated have to be borne 
In mind to understand the policy pursued by the Indian 

6 Dyarchy, p. 87* 

7 Dyarchy, p* 45. 


National Congress and the Moslem League on the one hand 
and the pressure thus brought to bear upon the policy of 
the Government of India on the other, during the fateful 
years ushered in by the German violation of Belgian neutra- 
lity at the beginning of August 1914. 

The Moslem League and the Indian National Con- 
gress began to fraternise, as has been noted above, from 
their Bombay sessions, 1915. The president of the latter, 
Sir S. P. (later Lord) Sinha laid stress in his address on 
two cardinal demands. He quoted J. Chailley's observa- 
tion that the motto of Elphinstone, Malcolm, and others 
was "India for the Indians," or the gradual preparation of 
India by suitable institutions and the increasing substitu- 
tion of Indian for English agency for the gift of entire 
autonomy to the Indians, " but that is not the aim of 
England now. She ruled India and intends to go on rul- 
ing it... She will keep the command and direction of the 
vessel, and her government will remain as despotic as cir- 
cumstances will permit. " 8 And he urged that there ought 
to be an authentic and definite proclamation on the subject 
that could not possibly be evaded or misunderstood. And 
in the second place he specified the question of commis- 
sions for Indians in the army and of military training for 
the people as having become increasingly urgent, denying 
that there could be any true sense of citizenship under a 
system that did not place the responsibility of defending 
the country upon the people themselves. The only other 
event of 1915 that needed mention here was the Hon. 
Mr. Snarl's resolution in the imperial legislature on Septem- 
ber 8th, asking for the direct representation of India at 
the next Imperial Conference. The demand received 
support from many quarters, English public opinion being 
still influenced by the warm feelings of gratitude naturally 
excited by the magnificent response of India and the in- 

8. See Administrative Problems of British India pp 117-8. 


valuable services of her army/ For instance, Dr. A. B, 
Keith said : — 

•'The Imperial Government in their general foreign policy must in 
future consider the views ?f India with as much care as they consider 
those of the Dominions. Their duty in either case is identical and must 
be carried out without favour to either. It is inevitable, therefore, that 
India should be allowed a voice in the Imperial Conference ; it is indeed 
ludicrous to think that New Zealand, South Africa, and Newfoundland 
are to be ranked as superior to the Empire of India ; it is right, further, 
that that voice should be uttered by a representative of India other 
than the Secretary of State, and preferably by a member of the 
Indian race. " *° 

Thus it was that S. P. Sinha and that rare product of the 
dreamy East and the pushful West, H. H. the Maharaja 
Bahadur of Bikaner, represented India at the Imperial 
Conferences and War Cabinets, and were the Indian signa- 
tories to a treaty of peace more historic than any since the 
momentous pacification that, packing Napoleon off to St. 
Helena, had rung the curtain down upon one act of the 
drama of humanity, to raise it very gradually upon the next, 

9. It is not too much to sav that the very first service rendered by 
the Indian army in the Great War was, comparatively and historically 
speaking, of the most inestimable value. The Indian army first took 
up its position on October 24th, 1914, between Generals Fulteney and 
Smith-Dorrien (Sir A. C. Doyle: British Campaign, 1914 ch 7-10) • 
Over three weeks followed of a terrific contest, including the first 
battle of Ypres. A German force over six lakhs strong had started 
to drive the British iDto the sea, reach Calais, and make it impossible 
for England to co operate further with the French on land in France 
and Belgium. The English never had even half the number to oppose 
this advance: the disparity in equipment was greater still. And yet the 
Germans could advance only five miles in a whole month, they lost 
over 25 % of the troops employed, and they fell back beaten. As Sir F. 
Younghusband said, in a paper at the Royal Colonial Institute (May 11, 
1915), the seventy thousand troops from India were sent to the front 
while the Germans were making their tremendous lunge to reach Calais, 
and just at the moment when the British line there had become thinned 
to breaking-point; but for this Indian reinforcement, our brave little 
array would have been swept off the Continent. And the moral effect ? 
Did the German know or find out then that he had only a fraction of 
the Indian army against him there? 

10. Imperial Unity and the Dominions, p 588, 


1916 witnessed (1) the foundation of Home Rule 
Leagues, (2) the Memorandum of nineteen Indian members of 
the Supreme legislature including five Muhammadans, which 
consisted of thirteen recommendations calculated to streng- 
then the legislatures and liberalise the administration, and 
(3) the adoption by the Indian National Congress and the 
Moslem League of a fuller and more detailed scheme of re- 
forms on the same principles. 11 These schemes if adopted, 
might have given us legislatures and executives as coordi- 
nate powers in theory, but in practice the executives would 
have become seriously weakened in a short time, and now 
and again "embittered and dangerous deadlock" 12 between 
the two would have arisen. It so happened, however, that 
the problem of meeting Indian aspirations half-way had, in 
the meanwhile, been taken up for serious consideration by 
Lord Hardinge's government, 12 probably soon after the 
death of Gokhle, and Lord Chelmsford, when he succeeded, 
continued the inquiries as energetically as the urgency of 
war preoccupations allowed. A competent body of Round 
Table students was also investigating the same problem 
independently in England. u Sir William Duke, a member 
of the India Council, was one of the number, and a novel 
idea suggested during the discussions — that the functions 

11 For (3) see Dyarchy, pp. 90-95, and S. Sastri's pamphlet, Self 
Govt, for India under the British Flag. 

12 Report I. C. R. para 167 ; see the whole of ch. 7, an elaborate 
criticism of the Congress-League scheme. 

13 Ibid para 28; and H. H. the Aga Khan's letter to the Times 
( London ), August 14, 1917, publishing Gokhle's Scheme. H. H. says he 
gave copies, soon after Gokhle's death (February 19, 1915 ) to Lord 
Hardinge, Lord Willingdon, and the Secretary of State. A comparison 
of Gokhle's scheme ( Speeches 3rd edition, pp. 1025-9 ; all the other 
references to Speeches throughout this book are to the 2nd edition) with 
Mr. M. A. Jinnah's address as president at the Ahmadabad Provincial 
Conference ai;d with the two schemes mentioned above shows at once 
that Gokhle's scheme leaked out in India in the eourse of 1916. Construc- 
tive faculty in the framing of constitutions is extremely rare. 

14 Dyarchy,??. XX-XXVU. 


of government might be arranged in groups, one or more of 
which might be handed over to administrators responsible 
to legislatures which would themselves be responsible to 
the voters, while the other functions continued to be dealt 
with by members of the executive council, and that these 
and the new administrators together might form the new 
governing body under a head, unchanged in character,— was, 
early in 1916, by him embodied in a concrete and detailed 
form applicable to the presidency of Bengal. Lord Chelms" 
ford obtained a copy of this in May 1916, and the subse- 
quent visit of Mr. L.Curtis to India was doubtless availed of 
for a full discussion of the whole subject between him and 
members of Lord Chelmsford's government. Further delay 
in making a start towards the legislative introduction of 
this "dyarchy" as the only possible transitional form of 
constitution in the advance from autocracy to full responsi- 
ble government, was due, perhaps, to the many calls, 
requiring immediate attention, of a world-wide war ; but 
Sir James (later Lord) Meston's speech as Lieutenant Gov- 
ernor to the U. P. legislature on July 17, and Lord Isling* 
ton's address at Oxford on the problems of Indian govern- 
ment three weeks later, heralded the actual announce- 
ment in the house of commons on Monday, the 20th of 
August. "The Government of India," read out the Secre- 
tary of State in answer to a question on the eve of the 
usual adjournment of parliament, "have for some time been 
urging that a statement should be made in regard to Indian 
policy... The policy of H. M.'s Government, with which 
tne Government of India are in complete accord, is that of 
the increasing association of Indians in every branch of the 
administration, and*the gradual development of self-govern- 
ing institutions, with a view to the progressive realisation 
of responsible government in India as an integral part of 
the British Empire. They have decided that substantial 
steps in this direction should be taken as soon as possible... 
I would add that progress in this policy can only be achiev- 


od by successive stages. The British Government and the 
Government of India, on whom the responsibility lies for 
the welfare and advancement of the Indian peoples, must 
be the judges of the time and measure of each advance, and 
they must be guided by the co-operation received from 
those upon whom new opportunities of service will thus 
be conferred, and by the extent to which it is found that 
confidence can be reposed in their sense of responsibility. 
Ample opportunity will be afforded for public discussion of 
the proposals, which will be submitted in due course to 
Parliament. " Mr. Montagu added that the Governor Gene- 
ral had invited the Secretary of State to India in order that 
these proposals could be drawn up by both together in 
consultation with local governments, and the suggestions of 
representative bodies and others might also be fully examin- 
ed on the spot and that His Majesty's Government had 
accordingly decided with H. M.'s approval that he was to 
proceed to India without delay. 15 

The next stage in the story was the Montagu -Chelms- 
ford Report submitted to Government in June 1918. It 
covered the entire field from the manners of the individual 
Englishman in India to the self-restraint that parliament 
and public opinion in England itself would have to exercise 
more and more on Indian questions, as Indian electorates 
became more and more conscious of their own rights and 
made their legislators and administrators more responsible 
to themselves. Even the definite proposals it put forward 
w*re arranged under fourteen heads, and summarised in 
sixtynine paragraphs. Some of these recommended com- 
mittees to examine special sections of the subject and formu- 

15 He announced at the same time the decision of government that 
"the bar which had hitherto precluded the admission of Indians to com- 
missioned rank in H M.'s army should be removed," and that nine 
Indians belonging to the Native Indian Land Forces who had been re- 
commended for the honour by the Government of India in recognition 
of their services in the field were accordingly to receive commissions, 


late more definitely the changes, new arrangements or new 
relations required. A number of other proposals were 
modified in the course of the detailed examination of the 
Bill based upon them. The outstanding merit of the Re- 
port is its clear, close and statesmanlike interpretation of 
the announcement of policy of the twentieth August. It 
adhered religiously both to the spirit of that pledge and to 
the precise limitations attached to it. To begin at the bottom 

''The individual," says the Report, "understands best the matters which 
concern him and of which he has experience ; and he is likely to handle 
best the things which he understands. Our predecessors perceived 
this before us and placed such matters to some extent under popular 
control. Our aim should be to bring; them entirely under such control* 
This brings us to our first formula : — There should be as far as possible 
complete popular control in local bodies and the largest possible inde- 
pendence for »hem of outside control '*. 

At the apex, on the other hand, no transfer of power 
could be made at the start. For one thing, India must be 
defended, and while this primary duty was entrusted to a 
British army of occupation and an Indian army of merce- 
naries — to use the word in a purely scientific way for the 
sake of accuracy, without detracting from the many merits 
of the brave troops or without meaning any offence — 
officered by Englishmen, and otherwise also deliberately 
kept seriously defective in training and equipment and 
influence in the country, and as deliberately diluted with 
wild and frontier tribes and clans who were only half- 
Indian in sentiment and could only furnish mere fighting 
machines and food for powder,— the British soldier and offi- 
cer was necessarily the keystone of the arch. It is one of 
the fundamentals of modern political thought that the civil 
power must be supreme in a well-governed state. Can the 
supreme civil power in a self-governing India control such 
an army as exists today for the defence of India ? Any 
one who thinks the matter out must see that while the 
present army lasts, the Government of India cannot be other 
than an agent of the British power, and that a fully self- 


governing India cannot be created faster than a fully 
Indianised army and navy. Any one who holds different 
convictions lives in dreamland. This English army has got 
to be replaced by an Indian, the reduction of the one can 
only go on as fast as the creation of the other, and the two 
processes have to be dovetailed into each other and carried 
forward to completion as a single operation, presenting all 
along to the gaze of the world a single, solid, efficient army, 
strong and well-knit enough for any emergency. 

" The respoDsibility for India's defence," says the Report, " is the 
ultimate burden whioh rests on the Government of India; and it is the 
last duty of all whica can be committed to inexperienced or unskilful 
hands So long as India depends for her internal and external security 
upon the army and navy of the United Kingdom, the measure of self- 
determination which she enjoys must be inevitably limited. We cannot 
think that Parliament would consent to the employment of British 
arms in support of a policy over which it had no oontrol and of which it 
might disapprove. The defence of India is an Imperial question ; and 
for this reason tbe Government of India must retain both the power and 
the means of discharging its responsibilities for the defence of the 
country and to the Empire as a whole. " 

Hence the only constitutional changes proposed in the 
Government of India were : (1) more Indians in the 
Executive Council, and (2) a bi-cameral legislature with a 
larger elected proportion in the more numerous and popu- 
lar house, in order that even while the legislature had little 
increase of power, it might as the organ of Indian public 
opinion exert a growing influence upon government in their 
deliberations. A detailed study of these proposals was 
unnecessary as the clauses of the Bill embodying them 
were radically improved by the Joint Select Committee. 1<J 

The most fundamental of the changes proposed related 
to the provinces. Hitherto these governments were, strictly 
speaking, merely administrations or agencies, and the 
majority, moreover, one-man agencies of the Simla-Dehli 
autocracy. Amongst the functions they discharged there 

16. Compare Part II of the Bill as originally drafted and as 
amended by the Committee. 


were a number " which afforded most opportunity for local 
knowledge and social service, which stood most in need ol 
development, in which Indians had shown themselves keen- 
ly interested, and in which mistakes, though serious, would 
not be irremediable." The Report proposed to initiate the 
experiment of responsible government with reference to 
these functions. It was impossible to introduce responsi- 
bility to the people into a one-man system, hence all pro- 
vinces in which the experiment was to be tried, were to 
have the council form of government. And the members 
of council placed in charge of the subjects just indicated, 
which were to be known as "transferred" subjects, were to 
be responsible — not to parliament and the Secretary of State 
and their agent the Government of India, but — to provincial 
legislatures mainly composed of representatives elected by 
constituencies to be formed on a wide or low franchise. 
With reference to these functions, the elected legislatures 
were to be the legally "sovereign" bodies, properly to be 
regarded as "parliaments," the members of council concern- 
ed were to be their responsible "executive," and the head 
of the province himself was to be, with reference to these 
functions, a strictly "constitutional" functionary, taking 
action or abstaining, according to the deliberate ( and mostly 
recorded ) decisions of his accredited counsellors, who were 
therefore, fully entitled to be called his "ministers." And 
the Report insisted, further, that the transfer from auto- 
cracy or dependence upon England to popular responsibility 
or self-government, must not only be introduced from the 
first on a substantial scale, but also that it should be steadily 
carried out as a continuous operation, more and more 
functions of the provincial government being so transferred 
at short intervals, until, within a measurable period of time, 
the same operation could also be undertaken with regard to 
the Government of India itself. Thus was the English au- 
tocracy to evolve by stages, and within a generation or so, 
into a fully self-governing Indian democracy within the 


Empire, an equal partner of the world-wide Indo— 
British Commonwealth. 

"Oar conception of the eventual future of India," the Report con- 
cluded, "was a sisterhood of States, self-governing in all matter* 
of purely local or provincial interest, in some cases corresponding 
to existing provinces, in others perhaps modified in area accord- 
ing to the charaoter and economic interests of their people. Over 
this congeries of States would preside a central Government, increasingly 
representative of and responsible to the people of all of them ; dealing 
with matters, both internal and external of common interest to the 
whole of India ; acting as arbiter in inter-state relations, and represent- 
ing the interests of all India on equal terras with the self-governing 
units of the British Empire,"l7 

The Franchise and Functions Committees were ap- 
pointed in October 1918 and reported in the following 
February : the Government of India submitted their own 
views along with such important documents as the Minute 
of five heads of provinces and the dissenting Minute of 
Sir Sankaran Nair, in April ; Lord Crewe's committee exa- 
mined another section of the field — the changes indicated 
as advisable by the Montagu-Chelmsford Report in the 
powers and position of the Secretary of State, the composi- 
tion and powers of the India Council, the working and 
organisation of the India office, and allied matters; and the 
first sketch of a new constitution to embody the departure 
of principle solemnly promised by the announcement of 
1917 being thus prepared for all the parts of a complex 
structure, the Bill " to make further provision with respect 
to the Government of India" was introduced in the com- 
mons at the end of May, read a second time on June 5th; 
referred with the consent of the lords to a joint select 
committee of both, the commons appointing seven members 

17 The best brief summary of the proposals of the report is to be 
found in Mr. Montagu's and Mr. Chamberlain's Indian Budget Debate 
speeches, 6-8-1918; see also Lord Islington's speech in the lords on the 
same date. For an independent summary with criticism, helpful be- 
cause fully acc-ping the underlying principles, see Bound Table viii 
pp 778-802. 


on July 3rd, and the lords an equal number on July 7th, 
and the committee started work on July 10th, electing Lord 
Selborne as their chairman. They worked through the recess, 
completed the examination of witnesses — 68 in number, 
including heads of provinces, members of council (the India 
Council, G. G.'s council, provincial councils), members of 
deputations who had come over to England to represent the 
views of the Congress, the League, the moderate party, the 
Home Ruler s,the Anglo-Indians,the Christians,the non-Brah- 
mans, the Indian suffragettes, and other organised interests 
and sections, and independent observers of eminence like 
H. H. the Aga Khan, Sir Michael Sadler, and Mr. Lionel 
Curtis — on the 15th October, spent another month over the 
Bill, threshing it out thoroughly clause by clause, and re- 
ported on November 17th, 1919. The result was commen- 
surate with the labour. Lord Selborne claimed, a little 
later, with perfect justice, that in altering and adding to the 
original draft, the aim of his committee was "to remove all 
possible causes of friction, to remove all shams, to fix 
responsibility everywhere, and to leave the executive with 
real weapons to fulfil its responsibilities. " Lord Sinha ad- 
vanced, with equal justice, another claim for the Bill as it was 
finally fashioned by the Committee : " we expect mistakes," 
by the responsible provincial executives, legislatures, and 
their new political masters, the electorates ; " but we claim 
that we have provided in this Bill every reasonable safe- 
guard and every device possible to minimise the serious- 
ness of their results. " The Bill as thus recast by the 
Committee passed the Commons on December 5th, the 
Lords read it a second time the following week, passed it 
on December 1 8th, and this Government of India (Amend- 
ment) Act, 1919, received the royal assent five days later. 
Thus were the fetters of the Government of India Act, 
1858, broken at length and flung over the shoulder into- the 
gulf behind, out of which the pilgrim path winds forward 
and upward to the radiant shrine of Freedom. For the 


key-word, unlocking the heart of the new Act, is not dyar- 
chy, or step-by-step, but self-government. The dynasty of 
the I. C. S. members of council is over ; the new line of 
Ministers dawns on the Indian horizon. 

The birth of the new era was attended, however, by 
circumstances which unfortunately veiled its real nature 
more and more from the vast majority in this country. 
From the middle of 1918 onwards the Great War suddenly 
took a new turn. The enemy showed signs of exhaustion 
which multiplied rapidly. A month or two more and he 
collapsed. And with that a wave of extreme distrust pass- 
ed through India. Fear usurped the throne in all minds, 
that under the altered circumstances parliament might 
listen much more to the services and the Anglo-Indians, and 
their representatives and friends in England, the Indo-British 
Association and the Chambers of Commerce, and very much 
less to their own pleas and representations. Other events 
also occurred, . great and small, which were widely inter- 
preted as signs justifying the initial distrust, and so in. 
creased it. The opinions of the provincial governments 
on the Reforms, the Minute of the five heads of provinces, 
the despatches of the Government of India itself, were 
iollowed by the far graver incidents of the introduction of 
the Rowlatt Bills into the Indian, and of the Asiatic Trad- 
ing and Land Bill into the South African, legislatures. In 
April occurred that terrible chapter of events in the Pun- 
jab which defied description in measured terms ; events 
which made it impossible for Sir Sankaran Nair to remain 
as a member of the Government of India and compelled 
Rabindranath Tagore to renounce his knighthood ; events 
about which, later, even the Duke of Connaught could 
only say— "No one can deplore them more intensely 
than I do myself." Longcontinued and acute economic 
distress followed by actual famine in extensive areas, an 
influenza epidemic killing off over five millions in under 
five months, strikes in industrial areas, and the Afghan 


War must be added to the tale; and the deeprooted 
feeling for the Khilafat and for Turkey and the sacred 
places of Islam, simmering in dumb and blind masses, 
until it shot up by the thousand to the bewildered gaze of 
the twentieth century the muhajrin emigrant, that media- 
eval figure of pure tragedy. When eighteen thousand 
actually went across the border in this manner, it is easy 
to imagine how many more must also have been in the 
throes of a distressing mental storm for months, until fin- 
ally in their cases the worldly anchors held. Take these 
influences together in their interactions and it is not too 
much to say that the stars in their courses appeared to 
have conspired for a time to convert all India to extremism 
with a vengeance. Large masses altogether innocent 
of politics had been lifted up to the level of interested 
spectators by the Great War, and movements like the 
Satyagraha campaign and the efforts of social and political 
workers to organise the millhands, postal peons, and other 
labourers, swelled the volume the din and the violence of 
agitation, and the wonder really is, not that extremist 
ideologues should have acquired unprecedented influence 
in Indian politics, or that milder natures like Pandit Madan 
Mohan Malaviya should have been brushed aside for the 
moment, but that a small but resolute battalion of elderly 
Moderates succeeded, nevertheless, in keeping their own 
flag flying in Indian politics and journalism. They saw 
the possibility of the scheme being wrecked by its deter- 
mined foes, in the course of the deliberations of the Joint 
Select Committee and during its passage through Parlia- 
ment, unless the average M. P. could have before his eyes 
a body of influential and responsible Indians, actively 
supporting it and ready to work it fairly for all it was 
worth when finally adopted. And they acted accordingly. 
Thus was the new constitution of Indian self-government 
by progressive responsibility conceived during the throes 
of the Great War, the pledges and appeals of Woodrow 


Wilson and Lloyd George, the ambitions of the Dominions, 
and the scientific inquiries and moral convictions of stu- 
dents like Sir William Duke, Lionel Curtis, and Professor 
Keith chalked out the line of advance, the magnificent 
services of the Indian soldier and the no less inestimable 
offerings of the Indian civilian tied the hands of people 
like Lord Curzon, statesmen like Chamberlain, Montague, 
Lord Selborne and Lord Crewe identified themselves with 
the reform and moulded it in detail, and while the Indian 
extremist convinced the average Englishman that delay or 
curtailment would lead straight to anarchy, the Indian 
moderate convinced him no less that the scheme actually 
proposed would be welcomed, loyally worked and actively 
pushed forward to its invitable goal — the well — being, 
freedom and elevation of one-fifth of the human race, 
through autonomous evolution. 

Montague-Chelmsford: Report I. C. R. 

Joint Select Committee : Report, with minutes of evidence. 

Indian National Congress, Moderate and of her Conferences : Re- 
ports, 1914—1919. 

L. Curtis : Dyarchy. 

Mukharji : The Indian Constitution, parts I and II. 

India in 1919 : India in 1920: annual official publications. 


§ 6j The Changes introduced by the Government of 
India Act, 1919, are so thorough and farreaching as to 
amount to a revolution. In inaugurating the new central 
legislature on February 9th, 1921, Lord Chelmsford said, 


"History is a continuous process. In human affairs, as in nature, there 
are uo absolute beginnings ; and however groat the changes that may be 
compressed in a few crowded years, they are to the eye of the historian 
the inevitable consequences of other changes sometimes but little noticed 
or understood at the time, which have preceded them.. ..In the last 
analysis, the declaration of August 1917 is only the most recent and 
most memorable manifestation of a tendency that has been operative 
throughout British rule. But there are changes of degree so great as 
to be changes of kind and this is one of them." 

It is true of course that the growing number influence 
and pressure of the Indian nationalists and the tendency 
to freedom and representative institutions inherent in 
English history, are quite sufficient as the remote or gene- 
ral causes, and the particular ideals and impatiences gene- 
rated by, and the unprecedented services and sacrifices of 
India during, the Great War, as the immediate compelling 
causes, to account for the new departure and to indicate the 
root principles of its development. Still none can overlook 
the personal factor of that devoted indomitable potter 
at the wheel, E. S. Montagu, the Secretary of State for India 
at this crisis in our history, permitting nothing whatever 
in the Three Worlds (§pf) — nothing however familiar 
or unusual — neither the Armistice nor the Punjab fright- 
fulness, nor the inherent bias of the services, nor the still 
more inherent dilatoriness of the parliamentary machine — to 
slacken the motion of the wheel, his deft fingers incessantly 
moulding the wet earth brought up in lumps by his experts, 
his committees, and their witnesses, until the precious vase 
was ready in its final shape and articulate individuality for 
the furnace of actual experience. Montagu is beyond all 
question the father of the new era in India, and he is 
doubly lucky in having been able to obtain for his offspring 
the benediction of his great predecessor, Lord Morley. 1 

1 Lord Morley said, 25-7-1918, at the National Liberal Club, when 
Lady Beg performed the ceremony of unveiling his bust, presented by 
Indian admirers : — "He felt he could not be mistaken in tracing thelinea- 
meots of the parental physiognomy of 1909 in the progeny of 1918. He 
had been reproached for stating that he would not take part in a reform 
that might lead to an In iian parliament. He would like to know what 
was meant by a parliament. He did not know whether the outcome of 
the proposals now before the country would amount to a parliament, or 
what sort of a parliament it would be. Therefore that might well be 
postponed" ( India, 2-8-1918). 


And, moreover, it cannot be too emphatically asserted that 
the changes are not merely the natural development of a 
long antecedent process, but, in their depth and scope, do 
constitute a new era altogether; indeed, they initiate a 
political revolution as radical and noble as — and ( of 
course) on a scale far greater than — that in 1869, which 
in a few decades created Modern Japan, or as that other 
revolution, with a longer period of gestation punctuated 
by wars, which gave Modern Italy to the world, a unified 
national constitutional monarchy. 

In responsible government of the parliamentary type 
the centre of authority or the working sovereign, in all mat- 
ters political, executive, and legislative, is the cabinet or 
ministry. Popular sovereignty in this type of constitution 
is the de facto sovereignty of ministers responsible to the 
electors. The institution grew up in England as the result 
of a long historical process ; it has been imitated in many 
a country from France to New Zealand, with more or less 
success, developing some novel features in most of them ; 
and it is this type of self-government which the Act of 1 91 9 
seeks to introduce here, as "the one " remaining blessing, 
"without which the progress of a country cannot be consum- 
mated,"* The changes in the provincial executives and legis- 
latures are thus fundamental features of the new constitu- 
tion, on account of which arise the corresponding changes 
introduced in the other parts of the structure. Eight 3 of 
the provinces— Madras, Bombay, Bengal, U. P., Punjab, 
Bihar and Orissa, C. P. and Berar, and Assam — now be- 
come Governments. Instead of depending upon the 
Government of India, they will now have their own loans, 
taxes, and budgets, and their money proposals, arising out 
of their annual budget statements, are to be submitted 
to the vote of their respective legislatures in the form of 
demands for grants, any of which or any of its component 
items, these legislatures might refuse or reduce in amount. 
[2-Cons30(l a); 10 (3 a, b)— Cons S0H(3a, b); 

2. Royal Proclamation, 23-12-1919. Mukharji : English Constitu- 
tion, pp. 39-43, cites passages from some authoritative wrietrs on the 
growth of Responsible Government in the Dominions, 

3. It has been decided to bring Burma also under the .Act of 1919, 



11 (2, 3)— Cons 72 D (1-4)].* There are of course 
limitations to the exercise of these powers and checks 
upon it. And the spirit of impatience distrust and oppo- 
sition is so rampant today that a great deal too much is 
made of this. The far more important fact undoubtedly 
is that these limitations and checks are, in letter as well as 
in spirit, exceptional in character and to be maintain- 
ed only for a time, until the transition from the status 
of a conquered dependency subject to England to the high- 
er one of a self-governing equal and friendly partner of 
the British Commonwealth is fully accomplished. The 
provincial legislatures set up under the Act are sovereign 
bodies in posse, although for a time they are requested to 
behave like an heir who is under age, the Governor in 
Council being placed in the position of a guardian. This 
period of transition cannot be indefinitely prolonged [41 
— Cons 84 A], Nor is the executive to behave during the 
transition as before, as an autocracy or the agent of an 
autocracy, but as a guardian holding himself ready to be 
relieved of his exceptional burden as soon as possible, and 
pledged in the meanwhile to discharge his duties strictly 
according to the provisions of the Act and under the eye 
of parliament, and so as to "further the purposes of the 
Act to the end that the institutions and methods of govern- 
ment therein provided shall be laid upon the best and 
surest foundations, that the people of the presidency ( or 
province ) shall acquire such habits of political action and 
respect such conventions as will best and soonest fit them 
for self-government."' Fronti nulla Jides, once bit twice 

4. The Act of 1919 (9 and 10 Geo. 5. ch 101) was so drafted as 
to become automatically merged in the Government of India Acts. 
1915 and 1916 (5 and 6 Geo. 5, ch 61 and 6 and 7 Geo. 5, ch 3?>. 
which had consolidated all the earlier enactments. In fact, the digest 
which formed ch 3 of Ilbert: Government of India (first published 1898) 
had been prepared with a view to facilitate such consolidation. Thus 
this finally consolidated Act of 1915, 1916, and 1919, is the authoritative 
parliamentary enactment for our new constitution along with the 
rules and regulations under it. The references above are first to the 
section of the Act of 1919 and then to that of the consolidated Act, to 
which latter is prefixed the abbreviation-Cons. 

5 Instructions to Heads of "governors' provinces", viz: the nine 
provinces enumerated above. A "governor's province" is defined, sec 3 
(Cons 46). The only difference now remaining between presidencies 
and the rest of these provinces is that the heads of the latter, to be also 
appointed by warrant under the Boyal Sign Manual, "shall be appointed 
after consultation with the Governor-General." The salary of the head 
of the U. P. has been recently raised to that of a presidency governor. 
Thus there will be four presidencies, and members of the I. 0. S. will 
be frequently appointed as heads only in the other five provinces. 



shy, ure undoubtedly good rules of prudence ; politics 
diplomacy and all strategy, too, ure the most important 
spheres for the application of such maxims, but it is some- 
times the duty of the historical student to warn the young 
India of to day that the younger India of the next decade 
will in all probability condemn the distrust of to day as 
going to unreasonable lengths. 

The new provincial legislatures differ toto caelo from 
the Morley legilatures they displace. They are larger in 
the proportion of three to eight ; the elected members are 
to be at least seventy per cent of the total, elected, more- 
over, directly by large constituencies ; 6 the number of 

Footnote 6 






















42 i 31 









6 9 






























































































































































103 70 





1248 548 








( See page 420 ) 


official ( and ex-of/icio) members is not to exceed one-fifth, 
nor can that of non-official nominated members along with 
official exceed three-tenths ; 7 the head of the province is 

( Concluded from page 419 ) 

R stands for Rural; U, Urban; M, Mohararaadan; E, European: 
A, Anglo Indian; I C, Indian Christian; S, Sikh; H, University; L, Land- 
holder; C. Commerce and Industry including Planting and Mining; 
O, Official, nominated and ex-officio ; F, non-official, nomiuated. 

Bengal will have 140 when the Dacca University gets the franchise; 
the Berar elected members (17) though technically nominated, are 
shown in the above Table in their proper groups of elected members; 
when the Nagpur University comes into existence and gets the franchise 
the number of elected members; in the province will increase and that 
of nominated members decrease, by 1. Shillong (Assam) is a general 
constituency including M along with others in one list of voters, as 
there is no M U constituency in the province. The M electorates give 
17 7 out of the total number of 636 elected members; and some few M 
more would certainly almost get into the councils through the special 
electorates also. 

7 The nominated non-official members are to be selected so as to 
provide for minorities and interests not likely to make themselves heard 
in the legislature independently of official channels. Of the numbers in 
this group provided as shown in the Table, the Backward Tracts are to 
have— C. P. and Behar and Orissa, 2 each ; Madras and Assam, 1 each- 
The Depressed Classes are to have — C. P. and Behar and Orissa, 2 each 
Bombay, Bengal and U. P., 1 each. In Madras communities like the 
Paraiyans are specially named, and are to have in all 5 nominated mem- 
bers. Labour is to have—in Bengal, 2; in Bombay, Behar and Orissa^ 
and Assam, 1 each. Then we come to very small minorities at the 
upper end of our heterogeneous population. The Bengalis domiciled in 
Behar and Orissa are to have 1 member ; the soldiers and army officers 
jn the Punjab, 1 member. The Indian Christians have elected represen- 
tatives only in Madras; they are to have nominees — in Bengal, 2, in the 
other four provinces excepting Assam and C. P., 1 each. The Europeans 
have no electorates in three provinces, but out of these they are to have 
a nominee in one-the Punjab. There are Anglo-Indian electorates in 
Madras and Bengal; they will have a nominee in each of the name pro- 
vinces as the Indian Christians; and in C. P. the Europeans and Anglo- 
Indians together are to have a nominee. For the communal electo- 
rates it is explicitly laid down that the representatives should them- 
selves belong to the respective communities. Hence this rule is also to 
be followed in nominations, as far as possible. Lastly, the Cotton trade 
in Bombay is to have a nominee and interests and industries other than 
Planting and Mining are to have 2 in Behar and Orissa. Thus of the 
nominations in all, only 9 are left to the entire discretion of the execu- 
tive. Over and above this maximum, experts can also be nominated, not 
more than 1 in Assam, not more than 2 elsewhere. 


not to be a member though he has the right of addressing 
his legislature, the president is to be, after the first four 
years, a member of the legislature elected to the position 
by the legislature itself ; and the interval between a dis- 
solution and the next session is not to exceed six months, 
or, without the sanction of the Secretary of State, nine 
months [ 7 to 9— Cons 72 ft, 72 B, 72 <2; 44— Cons 
129 A ; Govt, of India Notification No. 767 F of 29-7-1920 
and No. 880 F of 27-9-1920]. 

Rulers and subjects of native states in India are not 
to be held disqualified merely because of that status as 
voters or as candidates for election. The disqualification 
of sex may be removed by any of the new legislatures by 
resolution for its own province. Adults of sound mind 
and not otherwise disqualified are entitled to a vote by 
residence 8 within the constituency if they are retired pen- 
sioned or discharged officers, non-commissioned officers, or 
soldiers of the Indian army, or if they have the necessary 
property qualification. This varies from province to pro- 
vince and even in the same province is not the same for 
rural as for urban areas, or even for all rural or all urban 
areas. Every one possessing all the qualifications is entitl- 
ed to have his name enrolled either in the general or in 
one of the communal constituency lists of the locality, 8 and 
every one so enrolled has the vote ; and he may have ano- 
ther vote also if he can claim to be a member of any of the 
special electorates. Of these the University electorate is 
widened by the inclusion of all graduates of seven years 
standing : this is probably the only constituency with a 
uniform qualification all over India. The Marathas in 
Bombay and the Non-Brahmans in Madras sought special 
communal electorates for themselves. They obtained 
instead the concession of reserved seats. Bombay City 
North returns three members ; the Thana, Ahmadnagar, 

8 Residence within the constituency is required for a candidate in 
Bombay, C. P. and Berar, and the Punjab, but not in the other provinces- 


Nasik, Poona and Ratnagiri districts return two each; one 
of the scats in these six constituencies is reserved for 
Marathas. The Sholapur, Kolaba and West Khandesh 
Districts are also to be reserved for them in rotation; out 
of three successive elections each of these will return a 
Maratha once, and no two of them will do so simulta- 
neously. Thus of the eighty-six seats for elected members 
on the Bombay Council se\en are reserved for Marathas. 
In the Madras Council twenty-eight seats are similarly re- 
served out of ninetyeight for the Non-Brahmans, although 
they are to the Brahmans there as 22 : 1 in population and 
as 4 : 1 in voting strength. Trn very fact that their pre- 
ponderance of 22 : 1 in numbers dwindles down to 4 : 1 in 
voting strength is eloquent as to their poverty, and affords 
some indication of the passionate resentment felt by their 
more extreme leaders against the dominant, domineering, 
and it must also be added, intolerant Brahman of the South. 
The cleavage between the depressed classes and the Hindu 
masses is equally sharp and is to be met with nearly all 
over India. Until economic, social and religious forces 
bring about a revolution, there cannot be a real democracy 
in our country. And political institutions and changes 
are helpful or the reverse in proportion as they accelerate 
such a revolution, and enable us to get through the period 
of transition without the growing self-consciousness of the 
various communities setting up strains too severe to bear 
for the structure as a whole. Communal representation, 
either through special electorates or by means of reserved 
seats, is a device to broaden the outlook of the community. 
It compels the representative in the legislature to place 
his instinctive and rooted communal stand-point vis a vis 
the national standpoint and every time judge for himself 
and on the merits. Burke's distinction between the mere 
delegate and the representative of the nation has a merely 
geographical content in a homogeneous people, but rises 
to fundamental importance in a vast land like ours with 
such heterogeneous populations. Communal representa- 


tion succeeds in proportion as it leads communal represen- 
tatives on to become national statesmen, and elevates the 
better mind of the community itself through its chosen 
leaders from communal selfishness to general patriotism. 
By way of illustration, 1 may quote here the judgment on 
Gokhle and on Tilak of one of the few independent minds 
I have known, a mind that showed rare independence in 
admiring both these leaders simultaneously at a time when 
for the average Indian to admire either of the two was to 
look down upon the other. "There is a radical difference", 
he used to say, "between these two great Deccanis. I 
admire Gokhle all the more just because there is so little 
of the prejudices of the average Deccani in him. And I 
cannot admire Tilak as much as I should like to, just because 
he is of Deccani prejudices all compact, almost nn 
incarnation, so to say, of some of the worst of them. But 
take the average Deccani, and look at these two men from 
his average point of view. Can you not see that Tilak is 
to him a hero after his own heart, which Gokhle can never 
be ? It is absurd to expect much reason in, or to quarrel 
with, mere mass admirations. I too admire Tilak, but do 
so for traits of his of which the mass know, or can make, 
absolutely nothing." 

Sections 10 to 13 of the Act of 1919, reappearing as 
sections 80 A, 72 D, 81 A, and 72 E of the consolidated 
Government of India Act, deal with the powers of these 
Councils. They cannot make any law affecting any Act 
of Parliament. But other restrictions to their power are 
either due to the fact that there will always be a central 
Government of India with its own functions and responsi- 
bilities and its own legislature and executive to cope with 
them, or are only imposed for the brief period of training 
necessary for the constituencies to awake to the fact that 
they are now the real sovereign, and to enable them to 
master the modern democratic machinery through which 
they have to elect their rulers, and rewarding them with 
their support or punishing them by ifr, withdrawal, 


impose their will upon the policy, administration, taxation 
and laws of the state. Hence during this period of tran- 
sition only a section of the provincial executive and only 
those functions which this section of it deals with are 
fully subject to the power of the provincial council. But 
it will also have an influence, far greater than in the past 
and rapidly growing, upon the alien and official members 
of the executive and the functions in their charge. This 
is inevitable. The legislature is now a large and repre- 
sentative body with an overwhelming preponderance 
of elected members. The entire foundation of the state 
is altered by the change, and a new goal is set in unequi- 
vocal terms before the eyes of the executive. And to the 
head of the province is assigned the new role of makiog 
for this h iven by respecting the popular will as far as 
possible even in matters which, for the moment, are ex- 
cluded from its control and left to his discretion. It is 
unreasonable to assume that his responsible advisers on 
such matters, the members of the executive council, will 
always or even usually take extreme views; but even 
when they did so, they cannot prevent a new law or ob- 
tain any law or grant in spite of the legislature and over 
its head, unless they can convert the Governor to their 
own view at confidential meetings of the executive where 
the elected members of it will also be present, to urge him 
to consider for himself all that can be said on behalf of the 
view expressed and the attitude manifested by the cham- 
ber. And. he and the ministers will always have at a 
crisis at least one other individual at headquarters 
of tried independence and impartiality to consult pri- 
vately in cases of doubt, viz. the president of the chamber. 
Thus, while the sections referred to will be found to be full 
of what the legislature "may not do" at all or without the 
previous sanction of the governor general, and of what the 
Governor 'shall have power* to do, or to 'certify,' or to re- 
turn to the legislature for reconsideration, or to reserve for 
the consideration of the Governor General, the lay reader 


should be careful not to miss the wood ior these trees. Legal 
phraseology lacks the art of distributing emphasis, sacrific- 
ing almost everything else to the minute and exhaustive 
tabulation of details. The living essence and the guiding 
principle of a change, however revolutionary, it generally 
buries under a mass of exceptions, burying some of these 
again still deeper under little cumuli of counter-exceptions. 
And some of these exceptions will have always to be kept 
since, as said above, there will always be the Government 
of India ruling the province along with its own Govern- 
ment. But the rest will lose their force as we advance, 
and even from the first moment of their birth the new 
legislatures are not merely advisory bodies like their pre- 
decessors, but responsible and ruling bodies endowed with 
budget rights and a real power of initiative and control, 
with the moral support of the people behind them; and the 
new ministers are factors in the structure of the provincial 
sovereign of far greater moment than their predecessors, 
the Indian members of council created by Lord Morley. 
The change has had, as we saw in the last chapter, a most 
unfavourable start. The special session of the Congress 
and the Moslem League at Calcutta (September 1920) 
adopted Non-Co-operation, and their usual annual session, 
held in the Christmas holidays at Nagpur, altered the first 
article of the constitution of the Indian National Congress 
so as to eliminate from it all reference to the British 
Empire. 9 These non-co-operators made every effort to 

9. Article I of the political creed of :the Indian educated classes as 
accepted by the Hindus from the Congress of 1908 and by the Muham- 
roadans from a somewhat later date: — The objects of the Indian National 
Congress are the attainment by the people of India of a system of 
government similar to that enjoyed by the self-governing members of 
the British Empire and a participation by them in the rights and res- 
ponsibilities of the Empire on equal terms with those members. These 
objects are to be achieved by constitutional means, by bringing about a 
steady reform of the existing system cf administration and by promot- 
ing national unity, fostering pubiic spirit and developing and organising 
the intellectual, moral, economic, and industrial resources of the coun- 
try. (For the constitution of the Indian National Congress as a whole 
and how it grew up see A. C. Mazuradar: Indian National Evolution, 
Appendix A). 

Article 1 as amended at Nagpur:— The object of the Indian National 
Congress is the attainment of Swarajya by the people of India by all 
legitimate and peaceful means. 

M. K. Gandhi calls himself a disciple of Gokhle, but Gokhle would 
never have subscribed to the change, 



render the first elections under the Act futile. With only 
a few exceptions prominent non-co-operators declined to 
stand for the new legislatures. To induce the voters them- 
selves to non-co-operate, — 

" Meetings were broken up, candidates were threatened, polling 
booths were picketed. Social boycott was resorted to. Religious senti- 
ment was appealed to. It was even reported that in one place religious 
mendicants were openly declaring that any one who voted for a parti- 
cular candidate would be guilty of killing one hundred kine." Indian 
elections with over five million electors, including a high percentage of 
rural and illiterate voters, are certain to present novel features for some 
time to come. No candidate came forward at all for 6 seats out of 774. 
And 535 of the seats were contested by 1718 candidates. City consti- 
tuencies had lower polls that rural. Only 8 per cent, of the voters ex- 
ercised their choice in Bombay City; at the other extreme stood some o* 
the Madras cities with a 70 per cent. poll. In the Punjab 32 per cent, of 
the urban and 36 per cent, of the rural electors registered their 
votes. On the whole, in the contested elections, of the five and one- 
third million voters for the provincial legislatures over a million and 
one-third; of the 91 lakh voters for the legislative assembly over 18 lakhs 
and one-fourth ; and of the 17 thousand for the Council of State nearly 
eight thousand recorded their votes. 10 

The elevation of provincial administrations to the 
status of governments has also required the introduction 
of real decentralisation or devolution into the functions of 
government. We have seen the administration branching 
out into one department after another, and secretariats 
developing like nerve ganglia at headquarters. The sys- 
tem as it grew lived for its own growth until no discretion 
or initiative was possible at the extremities. But this was 
seen to involve too much unnecessary waste, and efforts were 
made from the time of Lord Mayo onwards to reduce this 
and develop a sense of responsibility at each ganglion. 
Liberals like Lord Ripon and Lord Morley wanted to 
create the spirit of freedom at each province and at each 
social and economic centre within the province, experi- 
ments were tried, commissions reported, various starts 
were made, admirable resolutions were indited, and beauti- 

10 India in 1920, pp 65-6 and 248. 


nil paper schemes were sketched, but the Supreme Govern- 
ment of India as established by the Act of 1858 blocked 
the way. The Great War alone generated the creative 
heat that melted these ancient and rigid fetters ; the Great 
War also threw up the keen analytical intellects, the broad- 
minded statesmen and the clear-eyed administrators who 
devised planned and translated into a concrete structure a 
new constitution under which this vast subcontinent 
( which had various intensely self-conscious communities 
with, here and there, gleams of genuine national sentiment^ 
might evolve peacefully rapidly and without a breach of 
continuity with the past into a self-governing federation 
master of its own fate. Such a federation implies primary 
states combining together to form a new state at the cen- 
tre for common purposes, by restricting their own sovere- 
ignty to the extent that they endow the central state with 
it. Here the only sovereign within sight was the British 
Parliament autocratically ruling over hundreds of millions 
of subjects. But there was the democratic dogma of the 
sovereignty of the people which had gathered force, and 
became transformed in Europe in the course of the nine- 
teenth century into the sacred principle of nationality, and 
in the Great War, as we saw, the Allied Powers were fain 
to draw recruits to their standards from all over the 
world, by solemnly proclaiming that, if the truth were to 
be told, it was that principle they were really fighting for. 
The Act of 1919, then, picks out over six millions of 
Indians, gives them the franchise, raises them to the status 
of citizens, and organises them into over seven hundred 
constituencies sending their representatives to legislative 
bodies. The Act further classifies the functions of govern- 
ment into central and provincial, and the latter again into 
reserved and transferred. The central functions are for the 
central power or the Government of India ; the provincial, 
for the eight (eventually nine) provincial powers or Gov- 
ernors' governments. Each of these latter is a structure of 


two wheels, both running together through the mechanism of 
a chain, viz. the representative of the Crown. The reserved 
provincial functions are for the Governor in Council; 11 the 
transferred provincial functions are for the Governor acting 
with ministers. The Governor in Council is the part that is 

11. We have seen that the presidencies had three members of coun- 
cil from L919 onwards (p. 98 ante). Behar and Orissa obtained an 
executive council from 1912. The consolidated Act, 1915 and 1916, 
provided that a Governor's executive council shall be of such number 
not exceeding four as the S. S. directs, and that two of these must be 
servants of the Crown in India of at least 12 years' standing [47 (1, 2) ]• 
The Act of 1919 by raising five other provinces (including Behar and 
Orissa) to the status of governor's provinces [ 3 (1) — Cons 46 (1) ] gave 
them all executive councils and also ministers. Legislation only laid 
down the maximum number of members of council and the principle 
that not less than half the number in any council must be servants of 
the Crown at the date of their appointment. As in Lord Morley's day 
the services, through th^ir spokesman the Government of India and 
their representatives in the Lords and Commons, fought hard to main- 
tain their own predominance in the executive government. Aristo- 
cracies and bureaucracies always fight hard and yield only inch by inch. 
It is their nature to do so, they cannot help it, and it should not be 
resented. The Joint Select Committee decided — "that in no province 
will there be need for less than two ministers, while in some more will 
be required." "That if in any province the executive council includes 
two members with service qualifications, neither of whom is by birth an 
Indian, it should also include two unofficial Indian members" ; "that 
the status of ministers should be similar to that of the members of the 
executive council" ; that in business coming up for cabinet consulta- 
tion "the habit should be carefully fostered of joint deliberation between 
members of council and ministers sitting under the Governor as chair- 
man. There cannot be too much mutual advice and consultation ; but 
the committee attach the highest importance to the principle that 
when once opinions have been freely exchanged, there ought then to be 
no doubt whatever as to where the responsibility for the decision lies ; 
reserved subject decisions should be recorded separately by the execu- 
tive council, transferred subjects decisions by the ministers, and all 
acts and proceedings of the Government should state in definite terms 
on which half of the dyarchy the responsibility for a particular decision 
rests. The Governor may have to hold the balance between divergent 
policies and different ideals, and to prevent discord and friction." "If 
after hearing all, ministers should decide not to adopt the Governor's 
advice, the Governor should ordinarily allow them to have their way 
fixing the responsibility upon them, even if it may subsequently be 
necessary for him to veto any particular legislation." The Instructions 
to Governors faithfully embody these decisions and recommendations. 


brought over from the past, the Governor with ministers is 
the newly constructed part. The intention is that the 
new is to eclipse the old from the first and grow in lustre 
by absorbing more and more of it from the old^ until shorn 
of all its lustre the old sinks into darkness, and all power 
shines forth exclusively from the new Governor and 
Ministers. Constitution-building is by no means a simple 
art, and the history of politics is full of the examples of 
celebrated constitution-builders who failed, their pious 
intentions notwithstanding. What grounds have we for 
anticipating that in this particular case the members of 
council will lose their power, although they have enjoyed 
an unbroken monopoly of it for so many decades ? The 
Governor is the representative of the Crown and responsi- 
ble to parliament for the reserved functions and to the 
voters of his province for the transferred functions. The 
ministers, his responsible advisers for the transferred 
functions, are elected members of the legislative chamber 
and responsible to it as well as drawing their real strength 
from it, just as is the case with ministers in England or in 
the colonies. The Governor appoints them; that today is 
not merely a form but also a fact. But as the chamber 
grows in experience and develops a collective mind and 
will, the Governor will cease to have much discretion in 
his choice of ministers. His appointment of them will 
become little more than a form, as the chamber becomes, 
in Seeley's phrase, the real minister — making organ. As 
soon as this happens the minister will have attained to the 
height of such power as he can command by virtue of his 
position as a minister. A member of council, on the other 
hand, is merely a departmental head. He is the expert 
agent, or to use the image that Montagu once applied to 
Lord Curzon, the chauffeur who can drive the car very 
much better than his employer. But at what speed is the 
car to be driven, in what direction, to what destination? 
It is for the employer to say. The paymaster is the 


employer ; and the paymaster under the new constitution 
is the chamber from the very beginning. For the present 
and for some time to come the chamber's voting of the 
grants for the reserved functions is no doubt merely a 
formality. .. But in a living constitution the growth of form- 
alities into realities and the atrophy of realities into mere 
forms is always in process. As the chamber develops a 
collective mind and will, its budget right is certain to 
grow into one of its most real and fundamental privileges. 
The member of council was all-powerful only while the 
bureaucracy here wielded autocratic powers with the con- 
nivance of parliament. [1 — Cons 45 A; 44 — Cons 
129 A; Devolution Rules with Schedules ,2 (Notification 

12. Transferred subjects — I List. (1) Medical administration (2) 
Co-operative Societies (3) Religious and charitable endowments. (4) 
Development of industries, industrial research and technical education. 
II List (5) Libraries, Museums, and Zoological Gardens (excepting cen- 
tral institutions at Calcutta e. g. the Victoria Memorial). (6) Education 1 
(exc. European and Anglo-Indian education ; the Benares Hindu Uni- 
versity and future Universities ; the Calcutta University and Bengal 
secondary education for the next five years ; the extension of the juris- 
diction of a University outside its province ; special institutions such as 
Chiefs' Colleges, army educational institutions, and institutions for pub- 
lic servants and their children maintained by central government). (7) 
Stores and stationery for transferred departments (subject to rules by 
the S. S ) (8) Pilgrimages (except out of British India). And the follow- 
ing subjects, with certain reservations in each for the central legisla- 
ture — (9) Local self-government. (10) Public health and sanitation and 
vital statistics. (11) Agriculture. (12) Civil Veterinary Department. 
(13) Registration of deeds &c. (14) Registration of births, deaths and 
marriages. (15) Adulteration of foodstuffs and other articles. (16) 
Weights and measures. Ill List. (17) Fisheries. (18) Excise (control 
of cultivation, manufacture, and sale for export of opium a central sub- 
ject). (19) Public works ( a detailed statement of the extent of transfer 
would fill more than a page). IV List. (20) Forests (legislation 
redisforestation of reserved forests a central subject.) 

Subjects in lists I and II are transferred subjects in all the eight 
provinces ; subject in list IV, only in Bombay ; the subjects in list III 
in all provinces except Assam. 32 other subjects are named as provin- 
cial reserved subjects. "The Joint Select Committee add the very neces* 
sary caution that it must not be concluded that these partitions of the 
fuctions of government are absolutely clear cut and mutually exclusive • 
They must in all cases be read with the reservations in the text of the 
Functions Committee's Report, and with dus regard to the necessity of 
special procedure in cases where their orbits overlap." 



No 308 S, 16-10-1920); 3— Cons 46; 4— Cons 52 ; 6— 
Cons 49 ; Instructions to Governors]. 

To pass on to the Government of India. The Act 
creates a bicameral legislature, the smaller house to sit 
for five years and bear the name of the Council of State, 
the larger, to be known as the Legislative Assembly, to 
sit for three years only, unless dissolved earlier. As in 
the case of the provincial legislatures, the executive go- 
vernment are not to rule India without a legislature, tor 
a period longer than six months or even with the permis- 
sion of the Secretary of State longer than nine months. 
Both houses have an elected majority. The Council of 
State is to have sixty members, thirty-three elected, 
twenty officials nominated, six non-officials 13 and one elect- 

13. The Legislative Assembly / The Council of State. 


































































































































































Grand Total ...103/3 J 




Remarks. — A stands for Assam; Aj, Ajmer ; D, Delhi ; I, Govt, of India 
&c. G stands for general electorates ; M. Muslim ; S, Sikh ; 
JSC European Commerce ; L, Landholders &c. 


ed representative from Berar nominated. The Legislative 
Assembly is to have not less than one hundred and forty 
members, and fifteen out of every twenty one are to be 
elected, and two out of the remaining nominated mem- 
bers, are to be non-official. The first house has one 
hundred and three elected members, twentyfive nominated 
officials, and fifteen (including an elected member from 
Berar) nominated non-officials. 

The election for both chambers is direct. 14 The 
Council of State has a president nominated by the Gover- 
nor General from among its members ; but the president 
oLthe larger chamber is to be elected by the chamber 
itself after the first four years ; the first president, nomi- 
nated by the Government, has been chosen for his experi- 
ence in the house of commons, and his knowledge of 
parliamentary procedure, precedents, and conventions ; and 
he is expected not only to set the assembly going on right 
lines, but also to be the guide and adviser of the presi- 
dents of the provincial councils. On the powers of this 
new central legislature Lord Sinha's remarks in the course 
of his speech in the house of lords ( 11-12-1919) are 
illuminating : 

14 The Bombay constituencies for the legislative assembly are; 
Non-Muslim— Bombay city 2. N. D. : 1, C. D. 2, S. D. 1, Sindh 1 } total 7: 
Muslim— Bombay City 1, Sindh 1, Sindh or N. D., C. D. or S. D. 1 each 
by rotatiou, the first at the odd elections, the second at the even; total 
4; Bombay European 2; Indian Merchants' Chamber and Bureau 1; 
Millowners — Bombay or Ahmadabad, by rotation, 1; Sindh Jagirdars 
and Jamindars or Gujrat and Deccan Sardars and Jagirdars, by rota- 
tion, 1; grand total 16. The Bombay constituencies for the Council of 
State are — the Non-Muslims returning 3 members; the Muslims of the 
presidency (excluding Sindh), 1; the Muslims of Sinda; the Bombay 
Chamber of Commerce. 1; grand total, 6. The Legislative Assembly 
franchise is a property qualification; the Council of State franchise is a 
property qualification or a personal distinction such as past or present 
membership of legislative councils, past or present tenure of office on a 
local authority, university distinction, the tenure of office in a co-opera- 
tive banking society, or the holding of a title conferred for literary 


"Like the provincial legislatures,'' said his lordship, "the Indian 
Legislature is to have power for the first time to vote on certain por- 
tions of the Budget. That is to say, there will be the same provision 
for a consolidated fund 15 upon which they will not be able to vote; and 
further the Governor General will always be entitled, if he thinks 
necessary, to reject every vote on every item of the Budget. It may 
be argued that this change (giving budget right to the legislature) 
is inconsistent with the policy of" not introducing responsibility of 
the executive to the legislature, "in the Central Government. I am 
confident your lordships will agree that whatever technical inconsist- 
ency there may be, the change is sound and necessary. What is the 
position? In the first place, thare can be no question of taking away 
any power which the Central Legislature at present enjoys. One of the 
powers it has enjoyed for the last ten years is power to propose and vote 
resolutions suggesting changes in the Budget, and this power it must 
retain. Hitherto the Government had its official majority to defeat 
any such resolution ( though even if it had failed to defeat it, the resolu- 
tion would have no binding effect ). But this official majority the Govern- 
ment will not command i n the future. Now, my lords, which is the 
sounder constitutional posi ion, the position which augurs best for a 
sound judgment by the proposed statutory Commission ten years hence, 
and for amicable relations meanwhile, — that the Indian Legislature 
should be able, year after year, with no sense of responsibility flowing 
from a knowledge of the practical consequences of its vote, to vote by 
an overwhelming majority resolution after resolution recommending 
speoific alterations which the Government is forced to ignore ; or that 
the Legislature should be legally responsible for passing the Estimates 
and legally accountable for the results of any modifications they may 

15 Clause 25 (3) in the Act of 1919, reappearing as 67 A (3) in the 
consolidated Act, excludes from the vote of the legislature (i) interest 
and sinking fund charges on loans, (ii) expenditure of which the amount 
is prescribed by or under any law, (iii) salaries and pensions of persons 
appointed by or with the approval of H. M. or by the S.S. in Council, (iv) 
salaries of chief commissioners and judicial commissioners, and (v) ex- 
penditure classified by the order of the G. G. in Council as (a) ecclesias- 
tical, (b) political, (c) defence. The powers of the executive to set aside 
a vote of the legislature when they "consider the expenditure essential 
to the discharge of their responsibilities" is safeguarded by sub-clause 
(7), and their emergency powers to authorise such expenditure as may 
be necessary for the safety or tranquillity of the country continue un- 
changed under sub-clause (8). 


vote ? 16 ...It is an important change but one which I am conviLced is the 
logical and necessary result of constituting a representative Central 
Legislature. I have been a member of the Governor-Generals Legisla- 
tive Council, it is true in an official capacity, but none the less closely 
associated with all the non-official members. I can assure your lordships 
that the cleavage which has unfortunately shown itself so often of late 
between the non-official and the official members of that body, is largely 
due to the non -officials' sense of aloofness from the real difficulties and 
decisions of the Government. They felt — they can hardly help feeling — 
that they are outside the machine and not a real part of its working. 
I am confident that all that is required to obliterate that cleavage is an 
admission, with whatever safeguards and checks that might be found 
necessary, that the Legislature and all its members are an essential and 
working part of the machinery of Government, that the action or inac- 
tion of every member influences the working of the whole." 

The two houses have not the same authority on 
money matters. Both houses discuss the money proposals 
of the executive in a general way ; both discuss and pass 
resolutions on the subject ; but appropriation or money 
bills-demands for particular items-originate only in the 

16 The Govt, of India objected :— "We are profoundly unwilling to 
accept the untried restorative power. It could not possibly be used as 
frequently as the situation will demand. If we admit that the Legisla- 
ture may vote the Budget, we recognise that the Legislature has normal 
ly financial control and therefore may shape policy, except on those 
extreme occasions when the executive call up their last resources and 
overrule the Legislature." They supported their view by references to 
imperial policy, and to contested topics of revenue and expenditure, and 
pointed out that the normal control of finance and policy would in pra- 
ctice pass to the I egislature, since a state of chronic and sustained 
hostility between the Legislature and the Executive, which would inevi- 
tably arise out of a frequent use of the restorative power, would be 
unbearable in practice. "What we accept," they urged, "is the influence 
of the Legislature, what we definitely reject is this control" But the 
Joint Select Committee did not listen to them. 

An examination of how the central and provincial executives have 
as a matter of fact respected the budget right of the legislatures during 
1921, lies outside the scope of this book. Such an examination would 
show, however, that the executives have not asserted their legal rights 
on reserved and central subjects, except where absolutely necessary. 
Will this year's precedents solidify into established ''conventions' ? Will 
the executives continue to prove equally sympathetic in future ? It all 
depends upon he future of "non-co operation." 


larger chamber. 17 Other bills originate equally in either 
chamber and go to the other. If amended there, the 
amended bill goes back to the originating chamber. When 
the latter is unable to accept these amendments, a Joint 
Committee with an equal number from each chamber is 
appointed; but a Joint Committee may also be appointed 
to deal with a bill at any earlier stage, and is the proper 
device to apply at the earliest stage to bills likely to be 
controversial, which involve legal or other technicalities, 
and seek to reduce to concrete legislation principles which 
though outside or above party contention in themselves 
create multifarious differences as to their application* Or 
the chambers might resort at any stage to a Joint Confere- 
nce, with an equal number from each chamber, for the pur- 
pose of settling the differences, if possible, by common 
consent. Or, finally, the bill returns to the originating 
chamber, and neither chamber is willing to yield to the 
other, or accept any other compromise. In such cases 
within six months of the date at which the bill passed 
in the originating chamber, the Governor General in Coun- 
cil may refer the matter to a Joint Sitting, equal numbers 
representing each chamber, and the president of the Coun- 
cil of State taking the chair. The procedure at this joint 
sitting is to be the procedure of the Council of State, and 
the bill as passed by the joint sitting is to be held to have 
been passed by the legislature. Legislation such as this 
representative legislature will not pass although the execu- 
tive consider it essential for the safety tranquillity or inter- 
ests of the country, the executive retain the power of 
enacting by themselves, " provided that the ordinance will 
require the sanction of His Majesty before it becomes law," 

17 A money bill, however, has to go up to the Council of State and 
must be passed by it, just like any other bill. In the very first budget 
under the new constitution, the Council of State modified the taxation 
proposals of the Assembly, and when the Finance Bill returned with 
amendments, the Assembly concurred, and the Bill passed as so 


and, in cases of emergency, the ordinance goes into effect 
at once, although liable, as hitherto, to be vetoed by His 
Majesty in Council. ,8 Legislation, on the other hand 
which in the view of the executive ought not to pass 
would be legislation proposed by a private member. This 
could not be introduced without the previous sanction of 
the executive, and such sanction would be withheld when 
necessary, under the express provisions of the consolidated 
Act, if the measure affected the public debt or the public 
revenues, the discipline or maintenance of the army or the 
navy, the relations of India with native or foreign states, 
the religious rites and usages of any class of subjects, or 
any matter handed over to the provincial governments, or 
any law of a provincial or the central government. And 
after any bill is introduced, power is reserved to the execu- 
tive to " certify " with regard to any section or amendment 
or to the bill as a whole that it affected the safety or tran- 
quillity of the country, and the president of the chamber 
forth-with drops the subject. These being the facts, as 
soon as the chambers develop a collective mind and will, 
and if they only show the statesmanship to take their stand 
on great issues where they can have the country behind 
them, the Act makes the new legislature potentially the 
master in legislation, in finance, and even in policy ; the 
only exceptions the Act provides for being — 

A— a due regard for continuity with the past in 
policy and finance ; and 

18 Lord Sinha's speech. "A very anomalous procedure to be most 
sparingly and reluctantly used ; but 1o be used, whenever necessary, not 
to be regarded as something catastrophic and, for practical purposes, 
inadmissible" — Sir J. Brunyate. * The Joint Select Committee believe 
that it would add strength to the Govt, of India to act before the world 
on its own responsibility." The Ordinances, whether going into effect 
at once as emergency measures or not, go before parliament, and the 
standing committee of parliament, and the action of H„ M. in Council in 
these oases will invariably follow the constitutional advice so obtained. 


B — where the executive are acting under the 
orders of the British ministry and parliament 
as their agents. 
And as the president of the Assembly has pointed out, 
with keen prescience, "we shall watch in the immediate 
future to see how the two parties develop ; whether, for 
instance, the Government will secure the necessary parlia- 
mentary cohesion before the majority reaches the same 
result for itself. Whichever develops first into a coherent 
parliamentary force, compact and well led, will be master 
of the situation. I say ' master of the situation' because 
the Government may be in that position, even though it is 
in a minority, for this reason, that the majority is compos- 
ed of fractions which will only coalesce with difficulty, 
and, therefore, it is not improbable that the majority will 
fail to weld itself into one compact whole, ready to act in 
unison on all important questions." That, undoubtedly, is 
the rock ahead, not only in the chambers but also in the 
provincial legislatures. The leaders we elect as our repre- 
sentatives to the chambers or the councils have to learn 
without delay to act together, to work for the team as a 
whole, to develop what I have called a collective mind and 
will. This is easiest when the great majority of the elec- 
tors in the country and most of their representatives in 
the legislatures normally fall into two parties, each with 
fruitful political principles and a policy embodying them, 
such as would command the allegiance of masses of citi- 
zens for several decades at a stretch. And this is why 
parliamentary institutions succeed best in homogeneous 
countries where political thought and aspirations run into 
a dy-party or duplex mould, te shoot up in the legislatures 
as two jets which coalesce there together into the single 
flame of the actual manifestation of the will of the state as 
a whole, in policy external and internal. Can India deve- 
lop quickly a two-party system, both parties loyal to the 
British connection, both heartily accepting the new consti* 


tution, but both equally resolute about working it by fair 
play and parliamentary methods to their own ends and 
aims, which diverge from one another from their roots in 
human nature right up to their flower and blossom in con- 
crete legislation and administration? If not, can the rank 
and file of the elected representatives develop quickly a 
personal loyalty to a few chosen leaders and resolve to 
vote with them, except on such very rare occasions only 
when it happens to be a matter of conscience with an 
individual here and there, to vote independently ? In 
fine, our new legislative bodies must be organised, party 
ties would be the best cement for organisation, but in 
their absence personal ties would serve to make a begin- 
ning, and there must be, in either alternative, clubs and 
places to meet in, and regular meetings and free inter- 
change of ideas before during and after a session, to faci- 
litate the organisation and make it effective from day to 
day. Such politico-social life and activity, outside the 
legislative halls but surrounding them and flooding them 
with its living waters so as to animate and control the life 
within, is indeed far more vital for progress than the ora- 
tions and votings inside under the eye of the president 
and the executive government, which only register the 
results. Political institutions in themselves, especially 
when imported from outside, are mere shells. They have 
to be worked with understanding and moulded to subserve 
our own national will. And while we fail to do so — what- 
ever the cause — the executive will of course continue in 
power, and the bureaucracy will be almost as autocratic as 
in the period from 1858 to 1920, although now working 
through parliamentary forms and representative institu- 
tions. But if this really happen to be the case, it will 
hardly be the fault of the framers of the Act of 1919. They 
believed it better— in the face of opposition, difficulty, 
discouragement, not altogether the handiwork of the preju- 


diced foes of Indian aspirations 19 — better for the growing 
national consciousness in India as for the Empire as a 
whole in the newer world after the Great War, that re- 
presentative Indian legislatures should really father the 
acts cf the Indian State, and they resolutely skilfully and 
laboriously recast the constitution to fit these legislatures 
into it aud to make it possible for them to perform this 
sovereign function. They placed the Indian legislatures 
on the throne in India. If the new occupant of the throne 
proves himself a mere show-piece, the acts of the state 
will continue to be performed as before by the former 
authors, although now in his name instead of in their own. 
That should be held to be the fault of the new occupant 
and not of those who elevated him. No safeguards against 
encroachments by the executive, no checks upon its power 
can be devised, short of dangerously weakening the exe- 
cutive and protecting arm of the state, to prevent such an 
illegitimate defeat of the original aim and design of the 
Act. Constitutional architecture of the parliamentary type 
can only create the necessary ruler — making organ. If the 
popular will will not function through it, another power, 
viz. the one hitherto sovereign, will (though sought to be 
replaced by a successor) continue to reign. The acts of 
the State administrative and legislative, precautionary and 
judicial, civil and military, will go on from day to day, as, 
indeed, they must ; they will also be fathered upon the 
new legislatures more and more : whose they really are, 
instead of merely in name, depends upon the daily wrestl- 
ing "on the floor of the house" between the executive 
ministry on the one hand and the legislative chamber on 
the other. Lastly, let not the Indian make any mistake 
about the nature of this wrestling. All political wrestling 

19 Compare Lord Selborne's remark: "I have nothing more to say 
except this word to my Indian fellow subjects : I think they have come 
nearer than some of them know to turning a very great body of public 
opinion in this country against their aspirations." 


is collective wrestling. Religious wrestling is that between 
the individual and his conscience. Domestic wrestling is 
that between the husband and the wife. Both the Indian 
knows and knows to be spiritual. In this collective wrest- 
ling, too, physical force of any kind is prohibited, perfect 
freedom of speech and opinion are bestowed upon 
the individuals as their special privilege, honourable 
behaviour, fair play and parliamentary procedure are 
insisted upon ; and under these conditions this wrestling 
on the floor of the house is not only an intellectual treat 
and a whet to honourable ambition, but it is, besides, as 
spiritual a contest as can be found in the sphere of poli- 
tics ; for the spirit is the will and this is a contest of wills 
in the abiding interest — so far as human foresight can 
reach — of the state as a whole. 

Dyarchy implies a division of the subjects falling 
within the province of a government into reserved and 
transferred subjects. It is easy to say in the abstract that 
the principle of dyarchy should have been also applied to 
the Government of India, but any one glancing at the list 
of the forty-seven central subjects ( Devolution Rules : 
schedule part I) will find it extremely hard to arrange them 
into two groups in that way on intelligible principles- 
Secondly, in what relations would the Governor-General 
with ministers be placed with either half of a provincial 
government ? Neither the Governor in Council with his 
responsibility to parliament nor the Governor with mini- 
sters 20 with his responsibility to the people of the province 
could be placed under the Governor-General with minis- 
sters, without withdrawing him to that extent from the res- 
ponsibility. Thirdly, the introduction of dyarchy would 
give more power to the central legislature over the sub- 
jects transferred, but deprive it of the power the present 

20 The position of the Governor, too, — the chain with its function 
of making the two wheels run as one— would be weakened, 


constitution gives on the far more important reserved sub- 
jects also. And in the executive of the central govern- 
ment itself, dyarchy would involve an arrangement simi- 
lar to what we have seen introduced in the provinces : viz. 
the central Indian ministers with a status different from 
that of the councillors, Indian and Civilian. Not merely 
different, moreover : in the provinces the difference does 
not necessarily imply inferiority and might develop into 
superiority ; in the central government, until full self- 
government actually replaced dyarchy, the difference 
would necessarily involve a distinctly inferior status. Nor 
would the number of Indians thus raised to the highest 
executive either as councillors or as ministers be necessa- 
rily larger than under the arrangement actually introduc- 
ed, without an unjustifiable increase in the total person- 
nel of the central government. From the administrative 
point of view, also, it is far better that the Govern- 
ment of India, the central secretariat, and the central* 
ised departments should first learn to restrain them- 
selves on provincial subjects, and the provincial govern- 
ments and legislatures simultaneously to assert them- 
selves in that sphere, as the new constitution requires 
them to do, than that the great and almost revolu- 
tionary changes thus introduced should be further 
complicated by still other changes at the centre, of 
equal or even greater moment. Hence, the Act of 1919 
confines itself to very few changes in the central executive 
council. The extraordinary members — the Commander- 
in-Chief and the head of the province — and the limitation 
on its number are dropped. The minimum of civilian 
members, with at least ten years of service, is retained at 
three. The law member may be an English or Irish 
barrister or Scotch advocate, or Indian lawyer, of at least 
ten years' standing. And a new subsection provides that 
rules may be made with regard to the qualifications of other 

members. And the Joint Select Committee advised that 


not less than three of the members should be Indians, over- 
ruling the Government of India who had expressed them- 
selves against more than two. [Act of 1919, Part II — 
Cons. 63 to 67B, 36, 43A ; Indian Legislative Rules ; Le- 
gislative Assembly and Council of State Electoral Rules > 
&c. ] 

We have seen in an earlier chapter that the parlia- 
ment gave to the Board of Control from 1833 and to its 
successor, "one of H. M.'s principal Secretaries of State," 
from 1858, whenever he chose to exercise it, 

'full power and authority to superintend direct and control all acts 
operations and concerns which in any wise relate to or concern the Go- 
vernment of India and all grants of salaries, gratuities and allowances 
and all other payments and charges whatever, out of or upon the said 
revenues and property," 

reserving only the power parliament conferred upon the 
India Council in certain cases to override his authority 
(p. 88 ante). What was thus reserved for his Council we 
have also noted (p. 1 01 ante). Introducing responsible or 
parliamentary self-government in the transferred subjects 
and the influence of the representative legislature on the 
executive in the reserved subjects in the province, and 
raising the province from the position of a mere admini- 
stration to that of a government with sovereign powers 
immediately in some of the functions of government, the 
Act of 1919 makes the province to that extent independent 
of the central government and also of parliament. Again, 
adding to the Government of India a representative legis- 
lature endowed with budget right and legislative authority, 
with only certain reservations, the Act makes the Govern- 
ment of India also to that extent independent of the Se- 
cretary of State and parliament. This is a revolution in 
the position of the India Office nearly as great as those we 
have studied at the two lower stages of our complex con- 
stitution. The Act constitutes for the first time the pri- 
mary province — state endowed with some sovereign power 

THE dawn 443 

and starts it forward with the blessing that the growth of 
this sovereign power will be helped on and not jealously 
restricted ; it also converts the central power into a federal 
state, granting to it some real independence of the Impe- 
rial sovereign in England ; and these very changes reduce 
the dependence of these primary and federal states upon 
the Secretary of State and parliament to a greater and a 
lesser extent. From 1 858 to 1 920 every action of the state 
in India was either to be done in accordance with codes 
and regulations drawn up by the Secretary of State, or had 
to be referred to the English head-quarters of our govern- 
ment for approval or special orders or sanction. All this 
is now changed in spirit, and as to the crucial parts of it, 
in the letter of the law also. The salary of the Secretary 
of State, the salaries of his under secretaries, and all 
charges of the India Office, 1 not being merely "agency" 
charges, are now to fall on England. The Act of 1919 
may be said to have come into force between April 1st, 
1920, when this item of it was carried into effect, and 
February 9th, 2 1921, when the central legislature was in- 
augurated by the Duke of Connaught with a Royal Mes- 
sage : 

♦For years, it may be for generations, patriotic and loyal Indians have 

1 From April 1st, 1920, for a period of five years, England is to con- 
tribute towards the cost of the India Office, £ 136,500 per year, including 
the salaries of the S. S. ( £ 5000 ) and his parliamentary under-S. (£ 1500). 
The Commons debate on the East India Accounts has in consequence to 
take place now in the Committee of Supply when the C. S. Estimates 
come up for consideration Fresh arrangements will be made for ano- 
ther period commencing from April 1st 1925, in view of the changes 
expected to occur in the meanwhile. 

2 Or a fortnight later, February 23rd, when the new Bombay legis- 
lature began its first session, the las r , of the new legislative councils to 
do so, since the Duke of Connaught completed his mission and bade fare- 
well to India from the port of Bombay. He began his mission by land- 
ing at Madras and opening the Madras legislative council, January 12th. 
The new provincial executives were installed — Madras and C. P., De- 
cember 17th ; Behar and Orissa, December 29th ; and the rest January 3rd* 


dreamed of Swarajya for their motherland. To-day you have the begin- 
nings of Swarajya within ray Empire, and widest scope and ample 
opportunity for progress to the liberty which My other Dominions enjoy. 
On you. the first representatives of the people in the new Councils 
[Central and provincial ]3 there rests a vory special responsibility. For 
on you it lies by the conduct of your business and the justice of your 
judgments to convince the world of the wisdom of this great constitu- 
tional change. But on you it also lies to remember the many millions of 
your fellow countrymen who are not yet qualified for a share in political 
life, to work for their upliftment and to cherish their interests as 
your own." 

The minimum number for the India Council is reduc- 
ed from ten to eight and the maximum from fourteen to 
twelve ; the qualification for appointment to it for at least 
half the members is altered into service or residence in 
India for at least ten years, the period of service is reduc- 
ed to five years in order that fresh experience might flow 
into it quicker, the salary is raised|to £ 1200, with a sub- 
sistence allowance for members with an Indian domicile, 
of A 600 more, and if the Secretary of State appoints to the 
Council any one who has not yet served long enough in 
India to earn his pension, his service on the Council is to 
count towards it. This means that all the service mem- 
bers of the Council need not necessarily be officers who 
have retired. 

The cumbrous procedure of the India Office or the 
Secretary of State in Council has been noted in an earlier 
chapter (pp. 67 and 101-2 ante). Almost every Secretary 
of State of the present century gave public expression to 
his strong desire for an instrument simpler and easier to 
work, especially as the Council was, in spite of its so-called 
financial veto, little more than an advisory body. Some 
attempts were also made since the time of Lord Morley to 
reform it, but these have not been noted in these pages as 

3 This addition is warranted by the Message itself : see its first 
paragraph, which, as also the last, I omit for want of space. 



they came to nothing. The Act of 1919 settled the matter 
by a stroke of the pen. The sections in the consolidated 
Act, 1915 and 1916, on urgent and secret matters were 
repealed, and the entire procedure of working" was left to, 
the Secretary of State to regulate, and the procedure for 
orders and communications to India and generally, for cor- 
respondence between the India Office and the Indian 
governments, central and provincial, to the Secretary of 
State in Council. 4 The relaxation of the superintendence 
direction and control so far vested in the Secretary of State 
or the Secretary of State in Council has also been left to 
the Secretary of State in Council to regulate. The rules 
so made for transferred subjects were sanctioned by parlia- 
ment. 5 And as to the financial veto in particular, the Act 
provides that, 

"a grant or appropriation made in accordance with provisions or res- 
trictions prescribed by the Secretary of State in Council with the concur- 
rence of a majority of votes at a meeting of the Council shall be deem- 
ed to be made with the concurrence of a majority." 

On the working of these provisions and the rules made 
under them the recommendations of the Joint Select Com- 
mittee are as under : — 

It would be advantageous to have more Indians on the India Council. 

Over transferred subjects the control of the Governor General in 
Council, and thus of the Secretary of State, should be restricted within 
the narrowest possible limits. 

4 The distinction due to two factors : in his resposibility to parlia- 
ment the S. S. is not to shield himself behind his Council ; in the ways 
and modes of conducting himself towards the governments in India, he 
needs the expert advice of the Council. 

5 See the next footnote. No rules have been made for central and 
reserved subjects for reasons as to which see the quotation from the J. 
S. Commit! ee a Report further on (slightly condensed, and the passages 
altered in their sequence ). Every serious student of the subject must 
study for himself the M-C. Report I. C R., the Act of 1919, the J. S. C. 
Reports, S.M. Bose's Working Constitution, and, if possible, also Mukhar- 
ji's Indian Constitution, 


In purely provincial matters, which are reserved, where the provin- 
cial government and legislature are in agreement, their view should 
ordinarily prevail, though the fact has to he home in mind that some 
reserved subjects do cover matters in which the central government is 
closely concerned. 

In the relations of the Secretary of State with the Governor-General 
in Council the Committee are not of opinion that any statutory change 
can be made, so long as the Governor-General remains responsible to 
parliament, but in practice the conventions governing these relations 
may wisely be modified to meet the change caused by the large elected 
majority of ( and the powers conferred upon ) the new Legislative As- 
sembly. In the exercise of his responsibility to parliament which he 
cannot delegate to any one else, the Secretary of State may reasonably 
consider that only in exceptional circumstances could he intervene in 
matters of purely Indian interest where the Government and the Legis- 
lature of India are in agreement. This general proposition leads inevi- 
tably to the consideration of one special case of nonintervention: viz 
the fiscal policy of India. It is clear that a belief exists in India at the 
moment that India's fiscal policy is dictated from Whitehall in the inte- 
rests of the trade of Great Britain. That there ought to be no room for 
it in the future is equally clear. India's position in the Imperial Con- 
ference opened the door to negotiation between India and the rest of 
the Empire, but negotiation without power to legislate is likely to re- 
main ineffective. A satisfactory solution of the question can only be 
guaranteed by the grant of liberty to the Government of India to devise 
those tariff arrangements which. seem best fitted to India's needs as an 
integral portion of the British Empire. It cannot be guaranteed by 
statute. It can only be assured by an acknowledgment of a convention. 
India should have the same liberty to consider : her interests as Great 
Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. The Secre- 
tary of State should therefore avoid interference on this subject as far 
as possible, when the Government of India and its Legislature are in 
agreement, and the Committee think that his intervention, when it does 
take place, should be limited to safeguarding the international obliga- 
tions of the Empire or any fiscal arrangements within the Empire to 
which II . AJ.'s Government is a party. 6 

6 Notification No. 835 G. ( Gazette of India, 18-12-1920) gives the 
rule actually made : the S. S. in Council's powers of superintendence &c. 
shall, in relation to transferred subjects be only exercised (1) to safe- 
guard the administration of central subjects ; (2) to decide questions 
arising between two provinces, when the provinces concerned fail to 
arrive at an agreement ; (3) to safeguard Imperial interests ; (4) in ques- 
tions arising between India and other parts of the Empire ; (5) and for 
the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Act relating to the 
office of the High Commissioner, the control of provincial borrowing, 
the regulation of the services, the duties of the Audit department, and 
the restrictions placod on the freedom of Ministers — such as the rules 
requiring the employment of officers of the I. M. S., the rules requiring 
the previous sanction of the S. S. for changes in the cadre of all-India 
services, or for the creation of similar appointments, permanent or tem- 
porary, &c. 

Rule 49 in the Devolution Rules ( Notification No. 308 S— Gazette of 
India Extraordinary, 16-12-1920 ) is exactly the same, only substituting 
the G. G. in Council for the S. S. in Council. 


For all the work done by the India Office in the past 
as the agent of the Government of India, the Act provides 
for the creation of a High Commissioner, analogous to the 
High Commissioners of the various Dominion Governments 
in England. He will also act as the agent of the Secretary 
of State in Council and the provincial governments in India, 
for the purchase of stores, the making of contracts, the 
raising of loans, and similar functions. He is to have an 
office and establishment under him, and his period of 
service is limited to five years, but at the end of one period 
the officer may be reappointed for another. The appoint- 
ment is made by the Governor General in Council with the 
approval of the Secretary of State in Council. The first 
High Commissioner was appointed on October 1st, 1920, 
and as his assistant the practice has been started from the 
first of appointing an Indian member of the I. C. S. Of 
the miscellaneous changes the most important relates to 
the services mainly recruited by examinations in England. 
The Act provides for a Public Service Commission in India 
also, and the proportion of Indian recruitment in the ser- 
vices, through the competitive examinations in England 
and in India, or direct appointment by nominations, or 
promotion from the provincial services, is to be 33 % from 
the first, rising by 1-5% annually for ten years to an all- 
round maximum percentage of 48. But of the men at 
present in these services, it is believed that there are some 
who are very doubtful whether they could be of much use 
or indeed whether they would not be out of their element 
in the new era inaugurated by the Act of 1 919 ; and the 
Joint Select Committee recommended that they should be 
offered an equivalent career elsewhere or allowed to retire 
on a pension suited to the period of service they had put 
in. The Secretary of State in Council have recently issued 
these rules, and if numbers avail themselves of the facilities 
thus offered, the lndianisation of the services will proceed 
at a quicker pace than that indicated by the percentages 


mentioned above. The last point deserving of notice is 
the provision in the Act for a Statutory Commission at the 
end of ten years to report on the working of the new sys- 
tem of government and advise about its restriction, 7 modi- 
fication or extension. [ Act of 1919 Parts III to VI— Cons 
Parts I to III, and VI A to VIII, &c. ] 

In addition to the References at the end of the preceding section— 
S. M. Bose: Working Constitution in India. 
E. L. L Hammond: Indian Electioneering. 

7. Restriction or modification in an unfavourable sense would obvi- 
ously involve an amount of coercion that places both alternatives beyond 
the pale of pratical politics unless, indeed we are launched into a period 
of revolutionary agitation. Nor is strict adherence to the period of ten 
years at all likely. It is remarkable that parliament and the J S. Com- 
mittee should not have perceived these things. They looked at the 
whole subject from another angle altogether. "The Indian electorates 
quite new to this Western democratic machinery of responsible self- 
government, the very idea that the sovereign will in the state is their 
will, that they have to exercise it, that they have to watch all legislation) 
taxation, administration, and policy in order to bend it all to their own 
will, altogether foreign to their psychology and their traditions : — let us 
see how they take to these things, for unless they do, the mere machi - 
nery of representative institutions has no magical virtue in it to secure 
either well-being or self-government or liberty," — these root principles 
of their scheme they were so intent upon emphasizing, thit they quite 
overlooked the fact that when once they gave the word and started the 
new engines, it would be, humanly speaking, beyond their power to 
reverse the engines, or to stop them, or even to control the pace. They 
overlooked other things also, some of great importance. For instance, 
in these pages I have not given any space to their elaborate scheme of 
contr ; butions by the provincial governments to the central. This has 
already begun to break down, and will do so more and more. In a 
federation the Central Government must have its own resources, and 
the experience of the United States, the German Empire, &c. shows 
clearly that the easiest solution is a tariff raising enough for central 
needs, and, if possible, also a surplus to be shared by the porovinces in 
the ratio of population and trade. The Moderates, who claim to be far in 
advanee of the non-co-operators in political and economical knowledge 
aud acumen, ought to have seized upon this and another idea or two, and 
developed round them a fighting and constructive policy with which 

( See page *M ) 


§ 64 Key to Real Szvardjya. Constitutional learning, 
administrative training, parliamentary experience, and 
political understanding are worth little unless they enable 
us to look down into the bedrock of concrete fact and 
decipher its import. What are these rock-bottom facts 
which we, the intelligentsia of the country, have to grasp 
steadily and mould to our will by united and persistent 
endeavour, if we really want to raise our land and people 
to the level of free nations ? 

It is the Pax Britannica that defends us at present 
both from external attack and internal disorder, the pre- 
stige of the British Empire and the British Name, built up 
by and resting upon the British navy and the Indo-British 
army. And this army, we have seen, has for its keystone, 
the British officer and the British soldier. The British in 
the army may be numerically only one-third, but they are 
of far more consequence than the other two-thirds, since 
the army is so organised that without them the entire body 
sinks into mere matter without the soul. It has also been 

( Concluded from page 448 ) 

they cou d have gone to the country. But since 23-12-1919 when the 
Act was passed, and a popular policy arising out of it was needed, as 
distinct from the policy of the executive, or from the non^ossumus atti- 
tude of the non-co-operators, the Moderates have done nothing of the 
kind, nor shown any vigour or resource in stemming the non-co-operation 
current. The present muddle is due as much to this failure of the 
Moderates as to any other single cause. A mere phrase like "co-opera- 
tion wherever possible, opposition whenever necessary," ia no subs- 
titute for a policy ; even as a motto, it is pure opportunism. 

The Assembly during the last session of 1921 passed a resolu- 
tion for a further instalment of reform before the visit of the statutory 
commission at the end of ten years, and the Government have undertaken 
to represent the matter to the home authorities. In the meanwhile Lord 
Lytton the Under Secretary observed on (he ?>ubject in the house of 
lords — "were it proved by experience that there was a defect in the Act, 
which had not been foreseen and required remedy, 1 do not think that 
any S. S. is debarred from coining to parliament for the remedy' 
\Timt* ef Indnct, 22-12-1921 ). 


urged in different sections of this book that the present 
army cannot be expected to obey a wholly Indian govern- 
ment, or, in other words, that Indian self-government can 
only become a reality in proportion as a really Indian 
army is built up, and that the modern art of war cannot be 
mastered quickly, a modern army in being cannot be creat- 
ed in a moment by a wave of the magician's wand. Lucki- 
ly the highest authorities, who still continue the arbiters 
of our destiny, recognise all this to the full. We read in 
His Majesty's proclamation of December 23rd, 1919: — 
"The defence of India against foreign aggression is a duty 
of common Imperial interest and pride." The concluding 
passage from the 158th paragraph of the Montagu-Chelms- 
ford Report has already been quoted in the last chapter 
(p 406 ante) and may be quoted here again :— 

"This responsibility for India's defence is the ultimate burden which 
rests on the Government of India and it is the last duty of all which 
can be committed to inexperienced or unskilful hands. So long as India 
depends for her internal and external S9curity upon the army and the 
navy of the United Kingdom, the measure of self-determination which 
she enjoys must be inevitably limited. We cannot think that parliament 
would consent to the employment of British arms in support of a policy 
over which it had no control and of which it might disapprove. The 
defence of India is an Imperial question ; and for this reason the Gov- 
ernment of India must retain both the power and the means of dis- 
charging its responsibilities for the defence of the country and to the 
Empire as a whole. " 

But pronouncements like these, while defending 
limitations which must be accepted today, necessarily 
point to the sympathetic creation of new conditions under 
which such limitations ceased to apply and could therefore 
be removed. As the Secretary of State himself told the 
house of commons in his concluding speech on December 
5th, 1919:— -" Parliament, I think, must see that you do 
not at one and the same moment withhold things for a 
particular reason and then refuse the opportunity of pro- 
curing them... Do not deny to India self-government be- 


cause she cannot take her proper share in her own de- 
fence,and then deny to her people the opportunity of 
learning to defend themselves. These are problems of 
which parliament takes upon itself the responsibility by 
the passage of the Bill." 

What is India's "proper share in her own defence ? " 
There can be but one answer to the question. India does 
not want a single alien in her army or in her navy. She 
does not want a single mercenary either. She desiderates 
an army and a navy manned by citizen soldiers and sailors, 
whose loyalty is not the less profound-whose efficiency is 
the greater — in that it is not blind martial instinct, but 
reasoned attachment and willing devotion to the service of 
the Mother. That is the goal. We have to work for it 
under England's guidance; England has to help us to 
build up such an army and navy in reasonable time. Thus 
alone can her long association with our history be fully 
justified at the bar of humanity and pass into the noblest 
form of equal friendly comradeship. India has been wait- 
ing for her to make a start in this great task ever since the 
Great War began. The moment she does make a real 
start, all distrust of her, non-co-operation in every form, 
will die a natural death. 

What would be a real start ? It is a pity that Indian 
leaders have not yet faced this question. Lord Sinha has 
been quoted on the subject in the last chapter. The 
more recent utterances of Sir Krishna Gupta, Sir Sivaswami 
Iyer, and Pandit Madanmohan Malaviya are well-known. 
None goes far enough. None grapples with the subject as 
a whole. The military authorities, belonging to a great 
department with a noble history and traditions slowly built 
up, have very naturally their own rooted ideas on the 
subject. These they have to be made to state systemati- 
cally with all the whys and wherefores ; these have to be 
steadily and radically altered by free persistent and patient 


discussion, until their own minds receive the proper* ori- 
entation with reference to the national ideal. Such a 
beginning has been made in the central Legislature in the 
course of this year. There was a committee of the legisla- 
ture on the military requirements of India and writing 
on their report the Simla correspondent of the London 
Times* observed : — 

" The Finance Member of Council has given a virtual pledge that 
he will not countenance any increase in array expenditure except what 
might be necessitated by actual operations on the frontier. The Com- 
mander in Chief and staff have adopted the course of taking the legis- 
lature entirely into their confidence. Some of the recommendations 
of the Committee have been already accepted by Government. (1) A 
military college at Dehra Dun to prepare Indian boys for Sandhurst 
*s sanctioned and will be opened by the Prince of Wales. (2) The orga- 
nisation of a Territorial Force has been taken in hand ; its officers are 
to carry Bntisa designations. (3) The principle of a short service 
system with a few years more in the Reserve has been accepted. The 
Assembly carriad other proposals also in most cases without a division. 
Indian opinion is determined that the army in India should be entirely 
under the control of the legislature, that all ranks should be opened to 
Indians on equal terms with British officers, aud that the utmost reduc- 
tion in the military budget should be effected. The clear duty of the 
present Government is," the correspondent continued, " to train up the 
young Indian as an officer to lead his men, to instil into him the right 
ideals, and to make the new Indian army in every way worthy of 
oomradeship with the other forces of the Empire. A policy must be 
laid down at once which clearly looks forward to Indian regiments 
officered entirely by Indians, aod the Headquarters Staff freely manned 
by responsible Indian officers. India will no longer tolerate an array of 
Indian soldiers who are merely mercenaries drawn from a limited sec- 
tion of her population." 

Is a quasi-military institution to "prepare Indian boys 
for Sandhurst" a real start ? "A short service system 
with a few years in the reserve/' "not an army of mere 

1 "Indian Army's Future" in the Times of October 8th, 1921. The 
Committee were: the Commander in Chief-President; the Finance, Law 
and Education members of the executive council, the foreign secretary, 
Sir Sivaswami Iyer, and Lieutenant Hissamuddin Khan (23rd Cavalry, 
F. F., a Durani Afghan)— -members. The Committee called for evidence 
from representatives of va rious schools of thought in the country. 


mercenaries drawn from a limited section of the popula- 
tion," "the utmost reduction in military expenditure,"— 
these are vague phrases : are years to elapse and decades 
to pass before these high-sounding formula) are given a 
definite content, and real work commenced in accordance 
with it ? 

What would constitute a real start ? A quinquen- 
nial reduction in the British army of occupation ; s a si- 
multaneous increase, from three to five times the number 
of the British soldiers reduced in the Indian recruitment 
a reduction every year in the " Indian " recruitment from 
the martial or semi-savage tribes on the borders, and a 
simultaneous increase, twice or thrice the number, in the 
Indian recruitment ; an annual reduction in the over-re- 
cruitment from amongst Sikhs, Gurkhas, Jats, &c, and a 
simultaneous increase in the recruitment from all other 
parts of the country ; a reorganisation of the four army 
commands of today into eight or nine, in order that the 
new recruits might have the first year or year and a half 
of their training in or near their own province ; several 
military colleges in India to train up a sufficiency of offi- 
cers for these eight or nine centres as well as for the regi- 

2. Mr. Malaviya said at Bombay, 17th and 19th August, 1921,— "they 
would be content to have responsible government in a definite number 
of years provided Govt, made earnest beginnings at once. Their earnest- 
ness would be in this . Supposing there were 6000 British military 
officers in India today and complete responsible government was to be 
granted in five years ; they must begin at once by training up and replac- 
ing 1200 Indian officers every year. The greatest shame of India today 
was that she required foreigners to defend the country. Let them start 
on that basis, and let people and Govt, understand each other that that was 
the settled policy ."-To build up a modern Indian array would take several 
periods of five years, no one can say from today, how many. Again, the 
officers are far more valuable than the men. At any rate, of the first 
British regiments reduced, I should say, keep the officers to help in 
training up the Indian officers and recruits. Those, however, though 
very important, are details. Mr. Malaviya's principle is one of the 
fundamental points at issue today between the executive and the people. 


ments on active service, the reserves, and the territorials ; 
the seasoned Indian troops of the present army, as many 
regiments as can be spared from the frontier, to be sta- 
tioned at these eight or nine centres, to form nuclei round 
which the regiments of the new recruits might grow; 
the equipment of the Indian section of the army to be 
raised at once to the level of the British section in all res- 
pects ; the deficiency in their proportion of air-force, 
artillery, &c, to be made good without delay ; the new 
armies' to be from the first of the highest level in all equip- 
ment and in the proportion which infantry, cavalry, artil- 
lery, and air-force bear to one another in them; all army 
stores and necessaries of every description from aero- 
planes and tanks to buttons to be manufactured in India in 
factories located and organised so as to give the quantities 
required of the best quality at a minimum of cost, and the 
personnel of the factories to consist of a high and growing 
proportion of Indians from the first ; the training of the re- 
cruit to be a training in life and in industry as well as in 
military duties, for he is to spend only a short term— five 
years at most, two or two and a half in training, the ba- 
lance in active service— as a soldier, the rest of his life 
he is to be a civilian, and all the better equipped for this 
his real life for his years of soldiering ; and all other parts 
of a vast subject to be thought out and a start made in all 
and each in harmony with these fundamentals. But it is 
hardly the business of a mere student to develop a whole 
policy for public men. His duty ends with throwing out 
suggestions, to be treated merely as suggestions of the 
underlying principles, and even when they arise natural- 
ly out of his reading of a situation and voice some of his 
deepest convictions, he cannot avoid feeling some hesi- 
tation about the propriety of his doing so. 

In one word, the army as it is to-day, the Indian sec- 
tion of it as well as the English, and the entire army ays- 


tern have to be radically transformed. They have had 
their day, a great day full of brilliant achievements set off 
with many a deed of thrilling heroism ; it is no disparage- 
ment of them and their glorious record, to say that in the 
day that has dawned we now want something entirely 
different ; something that we want the military experts to 
create for us, as they alone can. At the first blush, they 
will of course be dead against all such innovations and 
ideas, almost to a man. That is only human nature. One 
ought not to entertain different expectations about any 
class of men to whom the system that has created them is 
as the breath of their nostrils. But the reason is the no- 
blest of man's working faculties, just because it enables 
him, however slowly, to perceive that the old order, what- 
ever its claims on loyalty and sentiment, has had its day, 
and a new order altogether is really needed for the new 
era. And when once this perception begins, everything 
else developes out of it in due course. 

A start in the building up of an Indian Navy might 
be postponed for a decade or so. But India owes it to 
herself to relieve England and all other parts of the Em- 
pire of every naval duty in her own waters, which extend 
— taking Ceylon as an integral part of India for this pur- 
pose — from Aden and the Cape on the west to the Gulf of 
Siam and the Java Sea on the east. And if we have to 
begin building up a navy ten years hence in earnest, we 
must begin building up a mercantile marine from today. 

As said above, we too have to work for all this our- 
selves. Let us try to understand the implications a little 
more fully. Some points have to be specially emphasized. 
"The utmost reduction in military expenditure": how long 
are our public men to keep repeating this parrot-cry of 
Victorian liberalism ? No responsible person ever wants 
a single pie wasted of course. But an old system has to 
be pulled down as a new one can be built up to take its 


place. Instead of a British army, an Indian army ; in- 
stead of British prestige, which has been our sure shield 
for over sixty years, the creation of Indian prestige ; in- 
stead of the prestige of a few martial races, the Sikhs, the 
Marathas and the rest, the federal prestige of India as a 
whole, made up of the equal prestige of each province ; 
instead of seasoned veterans, short timers, reservists, and 
territorials ; instead of expert mercenaries from select 
areas and tribes, not a superfluous man among them, regi- 
ments of citizen soldiers from all over the country ; num- 
bers and equipment and collective spirit to make up for 
the hereditary aptitude of the individual unit ; colleges 
and factories and a corps of officers to be built up from 
the foundations :•— can any one imagine that these 
things can be had without increased expenditure ? It will 
take at least twenty years of growing expenditure for the 
new system to attain its full development. If our plans 
are well laid and properly executed, if the right spirit ani- 
mates the whole from its inception onwards, and if the 
new creation proves a success in actual experience, the 
time for economy, for reducing the numbers on active ser- 
vice, in the reserves, and in the territorials, and for short- 
ening the periods of service for all, would come then. 
But the new system has got to be built up first, whatever 
the cost. The only question is— are not the things we 
shall obtain in return for the cost in money and in men, 
infinitely worth having? And as against the cost during 
the period of creation, we have to place the inestimable 
gains : first, real Swarajya based upon our own efficiency 
and prestige won through our own exertions and sacri- 
fices; second, a sense of discipline 3 permeating the entire 
population, since our soldiers, too, would be drawn from 
the entire population in fairly equal proportions from all 

3 We lack this at present, indeed it is one of our gravest deficien- 
cies. No nation ever embarked upon Swarajya with less solidarity and a 
weaker sense of discipline than we passess today. 


over the country ; third, a higher level of health, vigour, 
and self-respect throughout the country ; fourth, the crea- 
tion of many industries ; and fifth, the bulk of the money 
spent would be spent within the country on her own 
children, — instead of upon people to whom India cannot but 
be the land of exile, who look down upon and maltreat us 
while they are here, and expect us, forsooth, to be grate- 
ful to them for being our defenders on those terms ; not- 
withstanding the fact that they are all brought out, trained, 
maintained, and pensioned afterwards, all at our cost, and 
that England and the Empire gain incalculably by thus 
having always available, free of cost or trouble, such a 
body of troops and officers thoroughly trained to take the 
field in any part of the world at a moment's notice. 

Secondly, the army and the navy are to be our own, 
trained by our own people, created by our own expendi- 
ture and efforts and sacrifices. And the prestige more 
precious than the regiments and battle-fleets, 4 will be the 
slow result of these concrete creations, and will crystallise 
only in proportion as these creations are successful, and 
are animated by the character, or, to use the current 
phrase the soul-force of the people as a whole. For ar- 
mies and navies are not mere brute force. Even bodies of 
mercenaries or gangs of pindharies have their day only so 
long as there is a collective spirit and discipline informing 
them ; and this, the character and solidarity of the body 
as a whole, what raises the mere fighting machine into a 
living organism with a will and a sense of duty and 
honour, and ideals, is of course far higher where the units 
building them up are the free citizens of a civilised nation. 
In the Great War, for instance, the German armies, merely 
as fighting machines, were not very inferior at the end of 
the war, to what they were in the beginning. The equip- 
ment and the organisation had suffered very little if at all; 

4 India will need two battlefleets, an eastern and a western, 


the change was in the spirit of the men, and still more in 
the spirit of the nation behind the men, and it was this 
that ended the war. 8 

Does any one imagine that India can create her army 
her navy and her prestige except under the sympathetic 
guidance of England ? Look at the military history of 
India in the dry light of absolutely dispassionate inquiry, 
from the moment that Dupleix introduced the European 
art of war on Indian soil by training up Indian mercena- 
ries with European equipment to fight like European re- 
giments. The list is long of the men from Chanda Saheb 
to Ranjit Sing who tried their uttermost to master this 
new art and base their thrones upon this new power. 
Morarirav Guttikar succeeded better than Chanda Saheb, 
Ibrahim Gardi better than Morarirav, Mahadji Shinde 
better than Ibrahim, Ranjit Singh succeeded better than 
any predecessor. Even at the best, however, the success 
was limited. The Indian states of those days still had in- 
dependence, power, statesmanship of a sort, and virility. 
And vet they failed. Does any one imagine that to-day 
when war is far more scientific and technical, and the 
disparity between a fully trained body of five thousand 
(equipped with the deadly arms of the twentieth century) 
and a crowd, however brave, a thousand times more nu- 
merous, is far greater than ever beforehand, moreover, 
when India has had six decades of the Arms Act, and fatty 
degeneration, that we shall, nevertheless, succeed better at 
present, without England's aid, than we did between 1748 
and 1848? Such a view could only be entertained by 
people for whom history can have no meaning whatever . 

5 Cf-"One factor in modem war dominates every other. In 
/ „' r *h7war of nations, it is the nation that loses the war 
Td not Thearmy The defeat of the nation brings abont the defeat of 
"e army WhTle a great nation is sound, its army can and will go on 
flghtTn^ bu7when the nation goes, the army too goes Th.s ,. , he 
fe^nrf the Russian collapse, the Austrian collapse and hnaHy of the 
German collapses-Edinburgh Review, January 1921, p. 20. 


^ There are those amongst the Indian intelligentsia and 
their organs who wax wroth in season and out of season 
at the clauses in the pronouncement of August 1917, re- 
produced in the preamble to the Act of 1919, 6 which state 
explicitly that "the time and manner of each advance can 
be determined only by parliament, upon whom the res- 
ponsibility lies for the welfare and advancement of the 
Indian peoples, and that the action of parliament in such 
matters must be guided by the co-operation received from 
those on whom new opportunities of service will be con- 
ferred, and by the extent to which it is found that confi- 
dence can be reposed in their sense of responsibility." Such 
impatient unhistorical views in so far as they arise out of 
sentimental reliance upon the so-called inherent rights of 
selfdetermination are beneath argument. Inherent rights 
are mere abstractions ; political rights and liberties come 
into existence only by being embodied in constitutional law 
and practice. And in so far as such views claim to rest 
upon pledges and promises during the War, the constitu- 
tional answer to them is final, that the Act of 1919 is the 
definite and detailed interpretation by the sovereign au- 
thority in the British Empire of the necessarily general 
promises and pledges which Lloyd George and others 
might have indulged in under the exigencies of a prolonged 
life and death struggle. The promises and pledges have no 
value except in so far as parliament has deliberately cho- 
sen to substantiate them in definite legislation. 

The English system, political and constitutional, is 
fairly elastic. The pace of reform can be forced upto a 
certain point. The legislatures can bring pressure upon 

1Q1Q 6 t^^ 1 ^^ 

1»19 ; wherever there is any difference of wording between the two, the 
preamble is the more authoritative from the date of enactment, 23-12-19. 
1 he above quotation is from the preamble. The only difference in word- 
ing between the two is that where the pronouncement said "the British 
Government and the Government of India," the preamble says "parlia- 


the executives, the constituencies can bring pressure up- 
on the legislatures, and the executives must yield to per- 
sistent pressure, interpreting the letter of the law and the 
terms of their instructions with a latitude or laxity gradu- 
ally overstepping the original and commonsense mean- 
ing of the expressions. This would be evolution on lines 
which the Englishman all over the Empire understands and 
appreciates. That is the royal road .along which Freedom 
slowly broadens down from precedent to precedent : it is the 
King's Constitutional Highway, built first in English history 
and imitated later in other lands. Non-co-operation, on 
the other hand, is revolutionary. And whenever a revo- 
lutionary movement is revealed in its true colours, however 
non-violent it may be, the entire strength and influence 
of the executive government and of the conservative sec- 
tions of the peoples must be ranged on the opposite side. 
A revolutionary movement, however non-violent in fact as 
well as in intention, must be a war against the powers 
that be, and a civil war, too, amongst the people them- 

Constitutional evolution under the sympathetic guid- 
ance of England, or else a revolution inflicting untold 
suffering in the immediate present and leading up to a 
future altogether dark about which no one in his senses 
can make any credible prediction at all : these are the 
alternatives between which India has to make her choice. 
Nor can she keep hesitating at the cross-ways for an in- 
definite period. 

But, finally, it is said : "The sympathetic guidance of 
England is a vain delusion and a snare. Her whole re- 
cord in India is against any such hope. We too hoped 
for it, we cherished the hope as fondly as anybody, until 
we have been forced by the inexorable logic of events and 
almost against our will to abandon it and turn our back 
upon it." Those who have really formed such convic- 


tions must necessarily be irrcconcilables. They form the 
backbone of the body of non-co-operationists. For in 
politics as in love, to repeat lines already cited on an 
earlier page, 

Faith and unfaith can never be equal powers : 
Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all. 
This book, however, is an attempt, very imperfect no 
doubt but conscientious, to present the record of England 
in India historically. I have not disguised the fact that a 
portion of that long record, about one generation or four 
decades in length, is open to criticism. But I have also tried 
to understand and explain why it was so. And all can see 
who are not blinded by dense prejudices that from about 1905 
onwards a better day began to dawn for India as a consequ- 
ence of measures carried through by the active and devoted 
exertions of statesmen like John Morley and Lord Hardinge. 
The growing improvement in our position both here in our 
own home and in the Empire, has been accelerated by the 
Great War, and the Act of 1919 has really framed for us 
a constitution truly liberal, necessarily leading on to full 
self-government of the parliamentary type, if we on our 
part, will only work the Act in the spirit in which it has 
been framed. If we will only tread this path of peaceful 
constitutional and continuous evolution, life military and 
life civil, life political and life economic might develop here 
in disciplined growth and in self-sufficient and courageous 
independence, all parts of India learning gladly from one 
another and from all the world because left free to learn 
and to test and to grow up in their own way ; and a Mo- 
dern India oriental in humanity and in love of peace, yet 
strong in balanced self-realisation, might arise thus as a 
federated union of eight or ten peoples gradually welded 
together into one political nationality ; an influential 
friend of all legitimate political ambitions throughout the 
East ; a strong supporter, as a member of the British Em- 
pire, of the peace of the world. 


I do not at all wish to leave the impression that the 
realisation of such a vision of the future of our country 
under the sympathetic guidance of England, in the course 
of a generation or so, can be deemed a certainty. Certain 
predictions in politics are the privilege of the magician, 
the stock-in-trade of the charlatan. The future is always 
more or less uncertain. But on the one hand there 
is this probability. On the other hand, there is revolu- 
tion; spreading hatred 7 of England and the English name 
to such an extent as to overcast the entire future. It is 
for the constituencies and politicians of to-day to make 
their choice, whatever it is, and translating it into persist- 
ent and organised political action, non-violently but deci- 
sively beat down the other party. It is we, as a nation, 
who have to make up our collective mind. 

7 Mahatma ( JH[T^T ) Gandhi preaches repeatedly, indeed, that 
**non«co-operation without love is devilish," but what is the inevitable 
effect of non-co-operation in word and deed on the average mind and 
heart ? To quote only a single instance that rightly interpreted speaks 
volumes; — Mahadevbhai Haribhai Desai, B. a. ll. b., a non-co-operator 
above the average, confessed in his statement before the Court trying 
him, 23-12-1921, "It is with a sense of positive relief that I shall today 
walk into gaol-the sense that. I shall be relieved of the difficult duty of 
criticising Govt, with truthfulness and yet without rancour. That 
capacity only my Master [ the Mahatma 1 has achieved. And I am 
really thankful that I shall no longer have to struggle against my 
baser sslf." 


A crore = 10 millions =100 lakhs. A lakh (also spelt lac)=100 

A Rapee = ls4d = l/15th of a £. But from about 1880 to 1900 a 
third unit was also use